Gov. Scott Declares Emergency Before Spencer’s Speech

Steve Bousquet, Tampa Bay Times, October 16, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency in Alachua County three days ahead of a scheduled speech at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville by the white nationalist Richard Spencer.

“I find that the threat of a potential emergency is imminent,” Scott said in a seven-page executive order.

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Opponents of Spencer’s visit have a Facebook account, No Nazis at UF, that includes a statement critical of school leaders for allowing Spencer to visit the campus.

Spencer’s UF appearance comes two months after a weekend of violence at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville marked by brawls between white racists and protesters. A woman was killed when a man drove his truck through a crowd of demonstrators.

UF President Kent Fuchs has urged students not to attend Spencer’s talk, but to “speak up for your values and the values of our university.”

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In a statement, Scott said: “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.

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Scott’s order noted that prior speeches by Spencer in Virginia, Alabama, California and Texas “have sparked protests and counter-protests resulting in episodes of violence, civil unrest and multiple arrests.”

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