Protesters gathered outside of Willy Hall on the University of Minnesota campus on Wednesday to speak out against the school hosting Canadian alt-right speaker Lauren Southern.
The protest, which drew in about 200-250 people– according to University Police– was a familiar sight with crowds of people chanting and holding signs denouncing racism and Nazism. Southern’s presentation began at 7 o clock and lasted until about 8.
“Chemical aerosol was used after repeated warnings that violence would not be allowed and to avoid and cease the behavior, so it was used mainly as a public safety measure to break up a physical altercation,” according to Evan Lapiska, public relations director with the U of M.
The chemical aerosol was shot into the crowd by police at around 7:45 pm after an altercation broke out between multiple protesters and one man in the crowd.
After the chemical was dispensed into the group, police suited up with riot helmets and readied riot guns from behind the barricade while a voice over the loudspeaker urged the crowd to disperse– saying “violence will not be tolerated” and threatening arrest in response to criminal behavior.
After Southern’s presentation ended, the crowd filtered out without significant issues.
University Police reported one arrest due to disorderly conduct related to a fight– otherwise they stated that there were no reports of serious injury or property damage. The person arrested had no affiliation with the U.
This protest on the University of Minneapolis campus comes approximately 8 months after protesters caused $100,000 in damage on UC Berkeley’s campus– preventing Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking.
Photo and video credit: Benjamin Pecka