UNC protest gets rowdy

April 13, 2009 9:00:00 PM PDT
There are two questions following a rowdy student protest at UNC Chapel Hill Tuesday night. UPDATE

UNC announced Thursday it is investigating the student protest that got out of hand Tuesday night on the UNC Chapel Hill campus.

Click here to read the latest on the investigation.

THE PROTEST

Did the protest get out of line and did campus police go too far?

Click here to watch the raw video

Dozens of protesters turned out to oppose a speech given by a former Colorado congressman, who was on campus to speak against illegal immigration.

Tom Tancredo didn't make it through his talk. In fact, he left campus early after protesters interrupted his speech and broke a window.

Protesters who weren't allowed into the room where the speech was being given gathered outside the door and chanted, "There's no debate, no space for hate."

In video from Tuesday night's incident, things clearly grow more tense with campus police. There is pushing and shoving on both sides.

One officer is seen on video shaking pepper spray, which was used. Some protesters coughed and covered their mouths after it was sprayed.

In another video clip placed on You Tube, police can be seen shooting their tasers in the air. No protesters were tased and reportedly, no one was arrested.

Click here to watch video captured outside the room where speech was being given.

Click here to watch video from inside the classroom.

Other video shows what was happening inside the classroom with Tancredo. The former congressman once ran for president on a platform firmly against illegal immigration. He was invited to UNC to deliver a speech opposing in-state tuition benefits to illegal immigrants.

Protesters interrupted his speech, stretching out a banner in front of him that read, "No one is illegal." Tancredo grabbed the banner and confronted one of the people holding it.

Then there was the sound of glass shattering. A window was broken by more opponents outside. As the situation escalated, Tancredo left.

Those who went to hear him speak were clearly upset. ""Obviously there wasn't a point," one attendee said. "He wasn't going to be allowed to speak."

UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp responded to Tuesday night's events and said, "We're very sorry that former Congressman Tancredo wasn't able to speak. We pride ourselves on being a place where all points of view can be expressed and heard, so I'm disappointed that didn't happen tonight. I think our public safety officer appropriately handled a difficult situation."

Tancredo himself emailed a statement to Eyewitness News on Tuesday.

"There is no freedom of speech on hundreds of university campuses today for people who dare to dissent from the radical political agenda of the socialist left and the open borders agitators," he wrote.

Tancredo said he wouldn't be deterred by the incident and plans to speak at more colleges in the coming weeks.


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