Protesters, Spencer supporters trade profanities

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Warning: The social media video embedded in this article contains profanity.

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Protesters and people in line to see white nationalist Richard Spencer speak at Michigan State University shouted at one another Monday afternoon, trading profanities.

“Fight for your own people instead of attacking us, how about that? How about go fight for your own people instead of f***ing with us, how about that?” one person in line shouted in response to taunts from a protester.

“You’re outnumbered, motherf***er,” a protester said back.

There were hundreds of people, some wearing masks, demonstrating outside the MSU pavilion auditorium, where Spencer gave his speech. Protesters chanted “Nazis, go home,” among other things.

“I’m basically just here to hold this sign, celebrate our shared humanity,” protester Rob Elliott told 24 Hour News 8. “I don’t like what Richard Spencer stands for.”

“We don’t stand for just one group of people, namely white men. We stand for everyone,” Shannon Rouston, another protester, said.

Officers from multiple departments were out in force, all in riot gear and some on horses. They were quick to get involved as they saw demonstrators approach people attempting to get into the event, working to break up confrontations before they could turn violent.

There were, however, some scuffles in the crowd that ended with officers detaining people.

Many protesters seemed just as angry at police as they did at Spencer supporters. They shouted “who do you protect, who do you serve?” at the officers and later that they were “protecting Nazi scum.”

On Tuesday, campus police said 25 people were arrested during the demonstration. Thirteen of them face felony charges ranging from carrying a concealed weapon to resisting and obstructing police officers.

Two of those detained had been lying behind an armored police vehicle and refused to move when officers told them to. One of them said it was “for a good cause.”

There were no reports of serious injuries.

Spencer was involved in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August of last year that led to a large conflict and one death.

MSU initially denied his request to speak on campus citing safety concerns, but was eventually forced to allow it after a lawsuit by one of Spencer’s supporters. Spencer paid the university $1,650 to rent the space and his group provided insurance for the event at the pavilion, which is south of MSU’s main campus.

Spencer streamed his speech on his Twitter account. WLNS, WOOD TV8’s sister station, reported there were fewer than 50 people in attendance.

“We’re just interested,” Jared Thompson, who was among those attendees, told 24 Hour News 8. “You always want to see what sides people are saying and stuff like that. When it comes to it, I think really even if you don’t like Richard, if you like him doesn’t matter, you got to understand his position.”

Shortly before 6 p.m., the protesters outside declared victory. They played drums as they walked back toward the parking lots. Police then started to stand down and clear the scene.

>>App users: Photos of the demonstration–24 Hour News 8’s Sarah Hurwitz and Leon Hendrix contributed to this report.

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