Florida declares emergency before white nationalist's speech at the University

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With police and barricades, road closures and warnings, the University of Florida braced for Thursday's speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Alachua County, where the university is located, to enable law enforcement agencies to work together more efficiently.

The university allowed Spencer to speak after initially declining his request, saying that as a public institution it must uphold the principles of free speech. Spencer was a headliner at the "Unite the Right" rally there that spurred clashes between white supremacists and protesters, leaving dozens injured.

Alligator Brewing announced last week that those who handed in two tickets (which were free) to the Richard Spencer event, which takes place on Thursday, would be given a free craft beer.

Cameron Padgett, an organizer for Spencer's National Policy Institute, said people who disagree with Spencer's racist rhetoric planned to receive tickets from the university and then throw them away.

"We are hoping that this is going to be a non-event but we are prepared to respond and handle this", said Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell. That's on law enforcement. The group had gathered to protest plans by the city to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. He also made a provision for the National Guard to be activated if necessary.

Spencer is scheduled to speak at 2:30 this afternoon.

White nationalist Richard Spencer gives remarks after a white nationalist rally was declared an unlawful assembly on August 12 in Charlottesville. The university provided a permit for Spencer to speak, but the event is unaffiliated with the school, and no student groups sponsored the speech or invited Spencer, the university said. Conservative legislators will have to choose between a platform of pushing fiscal responsibility and one of pushing free speech above all - and account to their voters based on said choice. "He is the leader of a movement who it seems to me from everything he says is working for the violent overthrow of our constitutional system".

The Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student Center at UF said it would be open for extended hours with extra security on Thursday to provide students with a safe space. "There's a lot of just unknown what's going to happen". "I didn't think that we should be party to our own debasement without a serious public debate about what kind of speech was really covered and whether this was legitimate speech or deliberately incendiary speech".



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