Violence erupts at event for controversial congressman

By | 2018-01-16T00:07:35-04:00 December 7th, 2006|News|

EAST LANSING – The appearance of anti-gay conservative Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo last Thursday night at Michigan State University was hampered by violence and disruptions.
Young Americans for Freedom and the College Republicans hosted Tancredo as a speaker, but before the congressman even got into the building, about 25 protestors from the Coalition for Equal Opportunity stormed the lecture hall, shouting claims of racism against the representative and holding signs.
The incident made national headlines on Friday.
Tancredo was dubbed “Mr. Bigotry” by Rolling Stone magazine and supports making English the official language of the United States, building a fence along the border with Mexico and has said he would support the bombing of Mecca. Tancredo is so conservative, he brags that Bush political strategist Karl Rove has barred him from the White House.
The lecture hall had about 35 members of the sponsoring groups, as well as one man from the community who had found out about Tancredo’s visit from his recent appearance on Larry King.
Confrontations between audience members, and leaders of the groups broke out through out the lecture hall, and MSU police were summoned.
“They wanna be hiding in their little fucking racist bubble,” shouted protestor Jose Villigran upon entering.
“We believe in having an open and willing dialogue. But within the rules,” Jeff Wiggins, chair of the MSU College Republicans, told protestors.
“Come to my neighborhood and have a fucking conversation about immigration,” Villigran said under his breath.
Bristow told the State News that he was kicked and slapped while trying to protect a pregnant woman from potestors at the event, but BTL staffs, who were shadowing him the entire evening, did not witness the alleged incident.
His claims of assault led to his appearance and quotation on the Fox News shows, as well as an article in the Rocky Mountain News.
As MSU officers arrived, an unidentified individual got into a shouting match with 18-year-old Chris Kulesza. The protestor accused Kulesza of being a “fucking racist” and as MSU police began to pull him from the room, spit on Kulesza.
No one was arrested in the incident.
Shortly after MSU police arrived on scene, the MSU Law Library fire alarm was pulled, forcing officials to evacuate the entire building. The building was given the all clear by MSU police and East Lansing fire about 20 minutes later.
The lecture hall was standing room only following the fire alarm, and Tancredo entered the room to boos and applause. He spoke for about 20 minutes, but was interrupted once by a fire alarm, and used the opportunity to sign copies of his book and get his picture taken with various students.
During a 10-minute question and answer session, Tancredo took three questions, then was whisked from the room by his security detail.

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