Yesterday a libertarian student group at King’s College in London hosted a debate between objectivist Yaron Brook and right-wing YouTuber Carl Benjamin (aka Sargon of Akkad). Antifa organized a protest which led the school to deny entry to the event to any ticket holder who was not a student. From the Washington Examiner:
Violent protests also erupted outside the event hall, which led the college to bar all non-student ticket holders from attending the event. The Ayn Rand Institute estimates the hosting student group, King’s Libertarian Society, was forced to turn away roughly 200 external ticket holders.
“I was told that due to a ‘risk assessment’ that it was only open to students. So I just huffed and went home! I’m not surprised it’s just an underhand tactic to effectively censor ideas they dislike. Which is fine I just wish they were more honest about it,” one individual who was turned away told Red Alert Politics…
The rioting was not spontaneous. A Facebook event to protest Brook’s talk was organized by the KCL Socialist Students, Intersectional Feminist Society, Kashmir Solidarity Movement, KCL LGBT+, KCL Action Palestine Society, KCL Justice For Cleaners, and the Demilitarise King’s campaign.
Preventing ticket holders from entering the room wasn’t enough for Antifa. About 15 minutes into the discussion, masked protesters, who had been chanting loudly outside, barged in to the room and took over the stage. A fight started between one Antifa member and someone in the audience (video below). Masked Antifa members continued to shout and use bullhorns to disrupt the event. They were eventually pushed out but a fire alarm had been pulled and the event was canceled.
The libertarian student group that organized the event posted a statement on Facebook about the disruption which claimed some security guards had been injured in the scuffle.
After refusing entry to ticketed members of the public for ‘safety’ reasons, the King’s College London & KCLSU administration failed to prevent violent and masked activists storming the stage and the university at tonight’s event. Windows have been smashed and gas bombs lit outside campus. A number of KCL security guards are on their way to hospital after being assaulted, and to them and their families we offer our prayers and wishes for a speedy recovery.
The event has now been cancelled & evacuated after threats to the moderator. This was an act of violence, clearly intended to silence Yaron and Sargon’s planned debate, via a series of jackbooted totalitarian tactics that unfortunately proved successful tonight.
I’m not really familiar with either Brook or Benjamin. Objectivism is the philosophy advocated by Ayn Rand which emphasizes the importance of freedom of expression and free markets. Benjamin has been labeled “alt-right” by some publications but Robby Soave at Reason says the evidence of that is lacking. In fact, Benjamin has apparently expressed his dislike for the alt-right.
Here’s the video of the event. Everything seems calm until 13:15 when Antifa enters the room. Then it’s four minutes of shouting and chaos as the group screams about dening “fascists” a platform. Meanwhile, Yaron Brook can be heard saying into a microphone, “This is fascism, people. Watch it. Learn from it. The fascists are here.”