You may remember the group Patriot Prayer which was featured in a Weekly Standard story last September after a clash with Antifa in Berkeley, California. Over the weekend the group held a rally in Seattle on the campus of the University of Washington at the invitation of the College Republicans. Nearly 1,000 people showed up to protest the rally and five people were arrested. The University initially wanted to charge the College Republicans a $17,000 security fee, but a federal judge put an end to that last week. From King5:
U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman, who issued a temporary restraining order, said a security fee could have a “chilling effect” on free speech.
“[The UW is] saying because our speaker causes other people to want to protest, at no fault of its own, that’s enough to charge us,” said Chevy Swanson, president of the UW College Republicans…
The College Republicans sued the school after UW asked the group to cover security costs for the rally, calling it a violation of their civil rights…
“A lot of students are concerned,” said Molly Quinton, news editor of The Daily. “And the issue of free speech is coming up a lot in classrooms of whether you can set a price on it or what the university suppose to do when there is a threat of violence.”
Friday, UW President Ana Mari Cauce wrote a letter to the campus saying there was a credible threat of groups from outside the campus coming to “instigate violence”:
This week, UWPD obtained credible information that groups from outside the UW community are planning to join the event with the intent to instigate violence. For the safety of campus visitors and others not associated with the events, several organizations have cancelled or postponed their campus events that day and access to Red Square will be limited. Your safety is important to us and we are taking precautions to ensure the Patriot Prayer event unfolds as peacefully as possible. However, I encourage you to avoid Red Square, and the surrounding area from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday to ensure your own personal safety.
That’s probably a reference to some flavor of Antifa which routinely threatens violence to “no-platform” those they disagree with. But the rally did take place Saturday as planned after police warned that canceling it probably wouldn’t prevent either group from showing up. Q13 reports on what happened next:
A shredded American flag, fights breaking out, the strong smell of sage overtaking Red Square and shouting across police barricades was the scene at the University of Washington campus on Saturday.
“We’re here to fight back against the far right and fascism on our campus,” said one of the speakers opposing the group “Patriot Prayer” and their on-campus rally…
People like Kathryn Townsend, who voted for Trump says the opposition doesn’t understand what the group is about.
“I saw a lot of anger on both sides. I learned that they thought my vote was a hate crime,” said Townsend.
Here’s Q13’s video report on the rally:
Here’s one more clip shot from the midst of the crowd. This really shows how some of these scuffles get started. People are shouting and taunting one another (on both sides), then someone starts pushing. Pretty soon it escalates and the police are forced to step in and separate the combatants. It’s not always easy to tell who started what, but the masked Antifa goons seem to be provoking a lot of the fights with pushing and shoving. The two people being led away by police at the end of this clip are pretty clearly Antifa: