About 100 protesters at the University of California, Davis, surrounded a venue attempting to disrupt an event Tuesday evening headlined by conservative personality and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk. The event was organized by the school’s Turning Point chapter.
The protesters, who were mostly wearing black, clashed with law enforcement officers and other students, including attendees of the event, as they smashed windows, hurled eggs, used pepper spray and blocked people from entering the University Credit Union Center, where the event was held.
There were at least two arrests.
“Not a peaceful protest at all,” Twitter CEO Elon Musk tweeted after photos and videos of the protest surfaced on social media.
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Several people responded to Musk’s post agreeing the protesters were violent and some made comparisons to the Jan. 6 Capitol protest.
UC Davis said in a statement after the event that one police officer was injured during the incident.
“Outside the UCUC, about 100 protesters gathered and for brief times blocked the main event entrance and the pathway to the entrance,” the school said, admitting there were “minor incidents.”
It added: “One officer sustained an injury when he was jumped on from behind and pushed to the ground, and two people were arrested and taken to Yolo County Jail for allegedly painting graffiti on an exterior wall of the University Credit Union Center, or UCUC, where the event was held.”
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The school also said protesters near the northeast entrance broke 10 glass window panes in the doors.
Protesters did not gain access to the building, however, and eventually left the area.
There were no arrests related to the breaking of the glass, the school said.
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The protesters held signs supporting trans and queer people and had umbrellas that they used primarily to cover their identities, videos and photos taken at the school show.
Other protesters threw eggs and other objects.
“There were some reports of people being pepper sprayed by others in the crowd. Aside from these pepper spray reports, no major physical injuries were reported and no one requested treatment for injuries,” UC Davis said.
The protesters also physically blocked a bike path and made entry more difficult for others.
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At least one of the people arrested did not attend UC Davis and was “not affiliated” with the school.
The school said: “One of those taken into custody, who is not affiliated with UC Davis, was charged with misdemeanor vandalism and resisting arrest, and the other, who had not been identified, was charged with vandalism, resisting arrest, and threats on a police officer.”
Kirk has been subject to criticism at UC Davis and around California, resulting in a previous event at the school being shut down.
An op-ed with the Sacramento Bee posted ahead of the event called for its cancelation, alleging Kirk to have called for the “lynching” of trans people.
“Charlie Kirk has called for the lynching of trans people, a comment that should warrant the cancelation of his speaking engagement at UC Davis,” the outlet said in a since-deleted tweet.
The op-ed also called Kirk a “fascist speaker.”
Kirk denied ever calling for such action and threatened to sue the outlet, which deleted the op-ed.
It was posted later, with different verbiage, instead referring to Kirk as a “far-right” leader.
During the event, Kirk addressed the “terrorists outside” and applauded security and his supporters for defying their attempts to shut down the event.
“I don’t know if you saw but they broke some windows, the terrorists did outside, people had things thrown at them,” Kirk said. “We’re not going to put up with force of trying to shut down people you don’t like.”
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He added: “Tonight is a statement to them that they’re the losers.”
UC Davis’ Twitter bio says the school is “the place to learn, grow, and find your community” is also boasts of “unforgettable memories and unconditional support.”
In its statement, UC Davis said it remained committed to free speech.
“As a public university, we must uphold the right to free speech, as guaranteed under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, even when that speech may be hateful, offensive or abusive,” the school said.
It concluded: “UC Davis is committed to supporting a campus environment that is inclusive and respectful to people of all backgrounds and dedicated to the pursuit of deeper understanding through the free and civil exchange of ideas.”
The event was limited to 1,000 students. About 500 attended.
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