At least 11 people were arrested when New York University demonstrations turned violent Thursday night. Dozens gathered to protest the conservative actor, comedian, and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, whom the NYU College Republicans had invited to speak on campus. McInnes, who left Vice in 2006, is also the founder of Proud Boys, which describes itself as a “fraternal organization” that wants to reinstate “a spirit of Western chauvinism.”
Protesters, many of whom were dressed in all black, clashed with NYPD cops and attendees — some of them in “Make America Great Again” hats — outside the Kimmel Center, an NYU campus building where McInnes’s talk was scheduled to take place. NYU denied entry to nonstudents who tried to get into the event, including some apparently affiliated with the “Proud Boys,” whose presence fueled tensions with the demonstrators, as the two sides cursed and insulted at each other, forcing cops to intervene.
NYU Anti-Fascists organized the demonstrations, which NYC AntiFa — a nonstudent group — joined. According to NYU Local, an independent university blog, there were reports that an alt-right group, intent to agitate the crowd, also snuck in among the protesters.
Protesters also managed to get inside the event, where they chanted and interrupted McInnes’s speech, apparently forcing him to cut short the event. McInnes also claimed he was hit by pepper spray. “I’ve never gotten pepper sprayed before,” he said to start the event. “You get the sense of panic where you’re like ‘How do I know it isn’t acid?’ And then you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, this isn’t Islam.”
The individuals arrested — eight men and three women — will face charges, including criminal mischief, drug possession, disorderly conduct, and obstructing government administration, reports the New York Daily News. The outrage on NYU’s campus comes a day after aggressive protests broke out on the UC-Berkeley campus after alt-right figure and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was invited by college Republicans to speak — though the talk was canceled after anti-fascists vandalized buildings and set fires. President Donald Trump, who criticized those demonstrations on Twitter, also appeared to call out the unrest at NYU: