On Friday, conservative speaker Charlie Kirk gave a speech at Colorado State University titled “Smashing Socialism.” While the initial protests surrounding the event were peaceful, the scene quickly turned violent when the Traditionalist Worker Party showed up with riot shields, helmets, and flashlights embellished with Nazi insignia. The Traditionalist Worker Party found themselves at odds with Antifa, which led to a violent confrontation that prompted a response from campus police, USA Today reports.
Charlie Kirk started his speech by denouncing the Traditionalist Worker Party and their values.
“That BS they’re trying to say out there, it’s not who we are, it’s not what we believe, it’s not what Turning Point believes,” said Charlie Kirk. He continued, “It’s very funny, they say, ‘Oh Charlie, you must be an ethno-nationalist because these four people with no lives show up outside your event. First of all, that’s a bunch a nonsense. Second of all, I don’t remember anyone saying that when all the communists show up to the Democrat events.”
The Traditionalist Worker Party had elevated tensions in the campus the day before when they distributed anti-immigration fliers at the university. Emeshe Amade, a student at the university, said that she witnessed Antifa members arguing politics with others near the conclusion of the event until the Traditionalist Worker Party stormed in, armed and chanting Nazi slogans.
At the conclusion of the event, CSU’s campus police issued a dispersal order in the hopes to avoid a violent conflict. Chief Scott Harris ordered the students, protesters, and attendees to leave the area due to the fact that there was “a risk of an imminent threat of potential violence.” Chief Harris’ suspicions turned out to be right, as students witnessed an Antifa member charge into the armed Nazi protesters and get struck in the back of the head with a large flashlight while another person slammed the attacker in the knee with a cane. As of yesterday night, no arrests have been made as a result of the protest.
The president of CSU, Tony Frank, wrote a letter to students following the events of last night. He made it clear that while the university still stands as a platform for free speech, the students must be wary of groups such as the Traditionalist Worker Party.
“But let me keep this simple: a Nazi is a Nazi is a Nazi,” President Frank stated in the letter, highlighting that even though the group calls itself the “Traditionalist Worker Party,” they still hold Nazi ideals. “And the members of the Traditionalist Worker Party are unapologetic Nazis who advocate murdering all those who don’t align with their worldview.”