April 19, 2017 / 7:22 AM / in 2 years

Three arrested during protest against white nationalist speech in Alabama

(Reuters) - At least three people were arrested during a protest against an appearance by white U.S. nationalist Richard Spencer at Alabama’s Auburn University late on Tuesday, hours after a judge ordered the school to let him give a speech, media reported.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the university’s Foy Hall, watched by police with dogs, as Spencer’s supporters joined a packed crowd inside the auditorium, CNN and other outlets said.

Video footage of the protest posted on AL.com showed a man with blood on his face lying on the ground outside the hall in handcuffs before he was led away by police. A woman was also seen being taken away in cuffs during the tense, but largely peaceful rally.

Spencer hailed the judge’s decision to allow his speech, telling his audience: “We won a major victory for the alt-right,” according to AL.com.

Spencer rose from relative obscurity in the days after President Donald Trump’s Nov. 8 election victory. Widely circulated video footage showed some Trump supporters giving Nazi-style salutes to Spencer during a gathering in Washington to celebrate the Republican candidate’s win.

Auburn University officials had banned Spencer’s appearance at the school four days ago, citing safety concerns.

But Spencer filed a complaint saying that the school was infringing his rights to free speech. U.S. District Judge Keith Watkin allowed the appeal on Tuesday and ordered Auburn to let Spencer speak.

The school complied but issued a statement saying it would “not allow the efforts of individuals or groups to undermine Auburn’s core values of inclusion and diversity”.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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