Submitted to It’s Going Down
On Wednesday, January 25th, despite diligent and persistent backlash and preemptive action from students, alumni, anti-racists, anti-fascists and parents, and with blatant disregard for the safety or well being of the university’s students and other demonstrators following the recent shooting at the University of Washington (not to mention common decency) CU Chancellor Phillip P. DiStefano allowed Breitbart’s shallow, ignorant, utterly repugnant editor, Milo Yiannopoulos to worm his way onto campus to give a speech he called “Why Ugly People Hate Me.” Milo, who was invited to the campus by the school’s chapter of Turning Point USA and College Republicans, has been shut down at multiple locations during his recent tour, and while folks were unfortunately unable to stop him from speaking in so-called “Colorado,” it was made clear that there will be no tolerance, no platform for those who may wish to reiterate his sentiments in our streets.
Resisters to Milo’s unfortunate brand of neo-fascist rhetoric started to arrive at the University of Colorado Boulder’s mathematics building before 4:00pm, two hours before doors, to find an already growing line of the event’s red MAGA hat clad attendees, as well as a strongly established police presence which had been patrolling the campus for the majority of the afternoon. Days leading up to the event were filled with aggressive posturing from right wing agitators calling for armed contingents of counter-protesters on various social media platforms, and resisters were cautious in their initial approach, having publicly called for the formation of an anti-fascist bloc to effectively resist potential agitators, as well as obscure their identities from snitchy liberals and alt-right trolls.
“Those present included several known white nationalists, a rifle toting libertarian, middle-aged, confederate flag waving bigots and a number of students.”
As the sun set and the temperature dropped the demo increased in numbers, effectively blocking off access to the front entrance of the building. Police formed a barricade around the back entrance and escorted those remaining in line into the building, refusing access starting at or around 6:30 and leaving a handful of would be attendees on the wrong side of the police line resulting in several scuffles and the expropriation of one or two MAGA hats. A small group of counter protesters had been forming to the east of the demo since around 5:00, either unable to or uninterested in getting into the event. Those present included several known white nationalists, a rifle toting libertarian, middle-aged, confederate flag waving bigots and a number of students. Our unwillingness to tolerate the presence of or to provide a platform for the racist, sexist, xenophobic, body shaming dribble of the fascists and their sympathizers was quickly made known. The burning of an nazi flag by members of the bloc (which was brought by protesters, however the Confederate flag was not) shortly after sundown started a chain reaction of resistance to the presence of any fascists within the demo that extended beyond the bloc. One of the major victories of the night was helping questioning liberals off of the fence and into the fight.
Throughout the evening nearly every visible red MAGA hat was taken and burned. A confederate flag once draped over the shoulders of a counter protester also went up in flames. As was widely expected, the largest amount of contact by individuals within the bloc was made with obnoxious, overly privileged and entitled frat boys. Blasting nationalistic contemporary country music from a blue-tooth speaker, a group of five or six lit frat kids made their way through the crowd chanting “Trump” and the vacant alma mater rallying cries common at homecoming games and spring-break parties. After losing a MAGA hat of their own in a brief melee and suffering several blows to the head of one of their most vocal, they were again asked to turn off their music and leave. In a poor attempt at machismo posturing, the kid whose phone was playing said music waived it in the face of several anti-fascists. Somehow that phone, after falling under several feet, also fell onto some fire.
The event let out on the opposite side of the building after temperatures had continued to drop and most of the liberals at the demo had given up and left. Demonstrators quickly linked together to form a moving line and approach the attendees attempting to leave the building. Riot cops flanked the now moving march to the right, establishing a line between us and the Milo supporters, but not before several more MAGA hats were won from their side. While attempting to engage several attendees, two people were captured by the pigs, inciting a barrage of hard, frozen snowballs to rain down on the police as they detained them. Not having the numbers needed to dearest our captured comrades, the march began to move through the campus while several individuals called to take the streets. At this point, having lost a large majority of our numbers, the bloc broke down and scattered into the night, evading patrols of riot pigs on foot, in what looked like dune buggies, and bearcats to relish and debrief in the crisp alpine air.