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Gainesville Residents React To Thursday Speech Event On Campus

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White nationalist Richard Spencer spoke on the University of Florida campus Thursday.

His visit was met with hundreds of protesters, few supporters and a planned speech that was drowned out by chants of ‘Go home Spencer!’

“Free speech says that government can’t stop [Spencer],” said protester and Gainesville resident Chris Smoot. “But that doesn’t mean that we can’t talk and listen to you and speak back. Free speech goes both ways.”

Some of those who lined up for tickets to Spencer’s speech inside the Curtis Phillips Center for the Performing Arts were turned away for reasons they say were related to race or because of what they were wearing.

I know he’s going to keep on trying to do this at as many campuses as possible,” said UF student Timothy Tia. “Hopefully the students and community members at those campuses look at this protest and see what we did right and wrong and learn from that to organize effectively against Richard Spencer in the future.”

After Spencer’s speech was over and he left the venue, two of his supporters exiting the Phillips Center had to be escorted by police away from protesters.

About Ramsey Touchberry

Ramsey is a reporter for WUFT who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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