Florida Prepares for White Rally with State of Emergency

Florida Prepares for White Rally with State of Emergency

Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency in advance of a speech white nationalist Richard Spencer is scheduled to give at the University of Florida.

Scott's order came at the request of Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell, who said she sought the emergency declaration "more so of being able to get the resources needed to prepare, rather than a sense of alarm regarding the protest".

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors United States hate groups, Spencer "advocates for an Aryan homeland for the supposedly dispossessed white race and calls for "peaceful ethnic cleansing" to halt the "deconstruction" of European culture". EO 17-264 activates Florida's Mutual Aid Plan which allows the state and Sheriff Darnell to quickly coordinate resources from other state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies. Scott called his order "an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe".

The University of Florida said that it was charging the organization $10,564 for rent and security inside the theater but that it couldn't charge it for any additional security costs. Scott also activated gubernatorial authority to spend surplus money when he deems it necessary.

The University of Florida plans to be open for classes and regular operations on Thursday, but faculty members have been informed to be understanding for students who are targets of hate because of race, religion, culture and other beliefs.

Gov. Rick Scott made the move on Monday, issuing an executive order as officials prepared to deal with the fallout from Spencer's speaking engagement.

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"I'm not a hurricane or an invading army, at least not literally", he said during a telephone interview Monday.

"As a state entity, UF must allow the free expression of speech", the university webpage said.

"We will be there Thursday, thousands strong protesting against fascism and white nationalism".

"If someone is coming to speak I feel like declaring the state of emergency is out of bounds", he told the Naples Daily News.

"We are hoping this is a nonevent", Darnell said.

"@PresidentFuchs talks about not supporting Spencer and his white nationalist ideas, but constantly decides to help them", tweeted the NoNazis at UF group in response. "We are hoping this will go very smoothly and peacefully".

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