Richard Spencer protesters aim for peace

Published: Oct. 19, 2017 at 10:33 PM EDT
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They didn't back down. In fact, people from around the country joined people in Gainesville to stand against Richard Spencer. They were assertive, but for the most part not violent.

"Whose streets? Our streets! Whose streets? Our streets!" chanted hundreds of protesters who swarmed UF's campus.

"They don't belong up here spreading their beliefs if it's hate speech, the constitution shouldn't protect hate speech," protester Brandon Dukes-Green said.

The event was mostly peaceful.

"They're not welcome and this event is not welcome," protester Michaela Fellerman said. "And that's why you see this many people here."

People from all over the country came to speak out against the white nationalist.

"I've never went through any of that prejudice myself but I can still fear for them and support those who are going through it still," said an unnamed protester. "To this day it's completely absurd."

There were many tense moments.

"It's pretty nerve-wracking here," Dukes-Green said. "But not much different than what I feel most days just being a black man."

But the same message remained: "LOVE CONQUERS HATE" which flew above the protests for hours. The Gainesville resident responsible for the banner told TV20 News, "It's about showing people there are peaceful ways to convey a powerful presence."

And that they did.

"I'm proud to see this kind of beautiful tapestry of people who are gathered together to bear witness to goodness and love," said Rev. Richard Pelkey who attended the event in hopes of spreading peace.

Tensions rose as the few supporters of Richard Spencer tried to leave the Phillips Center and were confronted by the protesters, but there were no serious incidents of violence reported.

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