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Arrests as Supporters of Richard Spencer Clash With Protesters Outside Michigan University

Spencer's speech at the university went ahead, but not before a protest erupted as about 40 backers of Spencer were met by about 500 demonstrators

A member of the Traditionalist Workers Party does a salute outside of a Richard Spencer speech on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, U.S., March 5, 2018.
REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

At least half a dozen people were arrested on Monday after supporters of Richard Spencer clashed with protesters outside a Michigan college campus where the avowed white nationalist was scheduled to speak.

Fights broke out on a road leading to Michigan State University in East Lansing as several dozen backers of Spencer walked up a road leading to the campus, where several hundred demonstrators had gathered, surrounding an armored police vehicle.

Police quickly stepped in to break up the altercation, handcuffing six or seven people.

Spencer's speech at the university went ahead, but not before a protest erupted as about 40 backers of Spencer were met by about 500 demonstrators.

Fistfights near Michigan State University ahead of Richard Spencer speech

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors U.S. hate groups, lists Spencer as “a radical white separatist whose goal is the establishment of a white ethno-state in North America.”

An outspoken supporter of Trump during the 2016 campaign, Spencer rose from relative obscurity after widely circulated videos showed some Trump supporters giving Nazi-style salutes to Spencer during a gathering in Washington to celebrate the Republican candidate’s win. Trump condemned the meeting.

In October, protests broke out as Spencer gave a speech at the University of Florida in Gainsville.

Two months earlier, a 20-year-old man said by law enforcement to harbor Nazi sympathies drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters after white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing a 32-year-old woman.