Clashes over Richard Spencer speech lead to a dozen arrests

On Monday, white nationalist Richard Spencer arrived at MSU for a highly-controversial speaking engagement that later ended up drawing a multitude of protests. In October, Florida declared a state of emergency to guard against violence between Spencer's supporters and hundreds of protesters as Spencer gave a speech at the University of Florida in Gainsville. A spokeswoman for the Michigan State Police said the department was assisting with crowd control but declined to say how many people had been detained or arrested.

Police say two dozen people, including protesters and Spencer supporters, have been arrested on charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.

"The safety and security of our campus community remains our top priority", Monette said.

Over two hours before the event was slated to begin, Monette had only counted around 150 protesters, and at that time said "everything has been peaceful on campus".

One MSU student who remained on campus told the school newspaper, The State News, that "If it was during the school year, we would've had, like, probably a thousand people".

"What happened outside was really worrisome and heinous", Spencer said.

Against the backdrop of drumming and chanting, one protester was asked about being arrested as she was led to a police van. The university is now on spring break.

Spencer, the 39-year-old firebrand leader of the "alternative-right" movement, billed the event on YouTube as one that would do more than just discuss alt-right ideas, but instead "talk about where we're going and what we ultimately want". Protestors tried to push the attendees back and threw water bottles, sticks, and other objects at them.

50 people heard Spencer speak.

Some in armored vehicles, Michigan State Police in riot gear swarmed the scene in East Lansing Monday, on the outskirts of campus.

  • Aubrey Nash