For a state that has had its share of preparing for emergencies due to hurricanes, Florida finds itself bracing for man-made disaster from the Alt- Right.
Governor Rick Scott in anticipation of a speech by white nationalist leader Richard Spencer has declared a state of emergency in Florida. Last August, Spencer led white supremacists and white nationalists in a torchlight march down the University of Virginia.
Violence erupted after a 32- year old woman was killed when a car mowed down counter- protesters. Two police officers who were responding to the incident also died in a helicopter crash.
Spencer is scheduled to give a speech on October 19 2017 at the University of Florida in Gainesville which has a population of 130,000 people.
Gov. Scott is not taking chances and believes there is an imminent threat with the presence of Spencer and his group of white nationalists. The state of emergency will assure Floridians that security and police will be in full force in the event an untoward situation breaks out.
“We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion, however, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority.” Gov. Scott added that local authorities had personally requested for security assistance and police protection.
The University of Florida clarified that they granted Spencer’s request to visit the campus in the name of free speech. However, the school insisted he was not invited to give a speech. Spencer’s Alt- Right group paid the school $10,564 to rent space.
Assistant Vice- President for Public and Environmental Safety at the University of Florida, Chief Linda Stump- Kurnick urged greater involvement from the students.
“We encourage you to speak up with your voices in support of our proudly diverse community and the values of this institution. We also encourage you to avoid the event. Don’t let the University of Florida be defined by Richard Spencer.”
Students from the university asked the school to cancel Spencer’s appearance as early as Monday, October 16.