Florida declares emergency before white nationalist’s speech at the University

MIAMI: Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency as a white nationalist is set to give a speech later this week at the University of Florida.

“This executive order is an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe,” Scott said on Monday.

Rallies staged by neo-Nazis and white nationalists in the town of Charlottesville in August led to deadly clashes that led to the death of a 32-year-old female anti-racist protester and injuries of dozens, reports Xinhua news agency.

Spencer, who leads a white nationalist group, had participated in the incident.

Monday’s order said earlier engagements involving Spencer have “sparked protests and counter-protests resulting in episodes of violence, civil unrest, and multiple arrests”.

“We have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority,” Scott said.

The governor said he signed the order to ensure “the county and local law enforcement have every needed resource”.

Spencer said the emergency was “flattering” but “most likely overkill”, according to local newspapers.

In a video message released this week, University of Florida President Kent Fuchs urged students to stay away and ignore Spencer’s “message of hate”.