6 arrested at UNC immigration protest

Goode picks up where Tancredo left off
April 24, 2009 2:37:29 AM PDT
One week after protests at UNC that led to broken glass and pepper spray, another conservative politician spoke on campus. And again, the topic was illegal immigration.On Wednesday, UNC-Chapel Hill's campus police arrested six people on charges of disorderly conduct during an appearance by former Virginia congressman Virgil Goode.

Originally it was believed that those arrested were UNC students. Later Eyewitness News learned the people arrested were not students or UNC employees.

Goode was a guest speaker sponsored by an officially recognized student group --Youth for Western Civilization. He was there to discuss illegal immigration, affirmative action and the suppression of free speech.

He spoke at the Frank Porter Graham Student Union to an audience of about 150 people and took questions from audience members for about 90 minutes.

During his speech, officials say some audience members jeered and heckled. One small group walked out shortly after it began, but Goode continued speaking throughout the disruptions.

According to the university, some students set off personal alarms that had to be located and turned off by police. While two others held up a banner with a profane statement.

Officers began taking protesters out one or two at a time during the course of the event as the behavior escalated. Police reported no violence or vandalism.

"The speaker tonight was able to express his views and have a give-and-take with his audience," UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp said. "I regret that six protesters had to be arrested, but they gave us no choice. They ignored our warnings, and their disruptive behavior was completely at odds with what we expect at Carolina. I want everyone to know that these six people do not represent what Carolina stands for when it comes to freedom of expression."

The arrests come on the heels of last week's protest on UNC's campus during a speech given by former Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo, who also delivered a speech against illegal immigration.

Last Tuesday, the incident got out of hand very quickly after those who couldn't get in to see the speech began pushing at the door. Campus police pushed back and an officer pulled out pepper spray and shot it into the air.

Click here to watch video and read about last week's protest of Tancredo's speech.

You could hear the clicking sound of tasers as police fired them in the air as a warning to protestors.

Inside the room where Tancredo was speaking, he was shouted down and blocked by a banner. A glass window was shattered during the disruption.

Most people condemned the protestors nationwide and across the state for what happened on what many call a liberal campus.

"I think they should have listened to what he had to say and then, if they had a different opinion from what he said at that talk, to then raise their hand and, you know, pose some different view," UNC senior Elisabeth Arriero said.

In an effort to prepare for Goode's speech, campus police had 23 officers on hand. At least one group announced they would protest Wednesday night's speech.

Flyers encouraging people with opposing views to attend the lecture, where posted around campus prior to the event. The flyers read, "White supremacy is alive on campus."

University officials are not releasing any details about the people who were arrested Wednesday.


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