BOULDER, Colo. — Three people were arrested during a heated protest over controversial far-right Breitbart editor and public speaker Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of Colorado on Wednesday night.
Campus spokesman Ryan Huff said one person was arrested before the event for failing to comply with officers’ orders. Two people were arrested after the event for misdemeanor assault.
The protest included hundreds of students who gathered outside CU’s mathematics building before Yiannopoulos’ speech.
The writer, who is gay, is known for saying racist and sexist things during his speeches. He has previously been in trouble for inciting violence — something police in Boulder were trying to avoid.
“I’m going to use and exercise my freedom of speech,” a protester said.
The activists were loud in their anger over the “alt-right,” which is described as a white nationalist movement.
The demonstrators were also upset over extreme conservatism and President Donald Trump. But the crowd’s main target was Yiannopoulos, who is known for speaking out against gays, ethnic minorities, Muslims, Jews and women.
“I’m pretty disgusted by that,” an anti-alt-right protester said.
The frustration boiled over into pushing and shoving as the event started. Republican students on campus invited Yiannopoulos to speak against strong resistance.
The university supported the First Amendment rights on both sides and did not endorse Yiannopoulos’ message.
Many who were anxious to attend the sold-out event were curious to hear what the controversial speaker had to say and they wanted the protesters to give them that chance.
“I think it’s a little hypocritical because they’re kind of out here giving free speech, and they’re trying to stop a speech,” said a Yiannopoulos supporter.
Those with tickets said Yiannopoulos’ email list was hacked and they received a message as a result.
Fans said the email read: “We know who you are. Tonight we will know your faces. The identity of attendees will be released to the public on a list of known neo-Nazi sympathizers.”
Yiannopoulos wasn’t the only speaker on the CU campus Wednesday.
Laverne Cox, the transgender woman who is known for her work on the show “Orange is the New Black,” spoke to a crowd as well. There were no incidents reported at her event.