This evening, after a 45-minute long diatribe by a preachy opening speaker, a large group of students rushed Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist, in what descended into a free-for-all on the stage. Scroll below for the blow-by-blow and photos.
3:45 PM: Releases by the University and by the College Republicans appended below.
3:21 AM: Those who occupied the stage have released a statement, which has been added to the bottom of the post.
1:56 AM: Chicano Caucus press release at the bottom of the post.
1:23 AM: YouTube is down at the moment. Bwog is working to provide an alternative, so stay tuned.
CTV’s video of the protest:
7: 30 PM: In the biggest old-fashioned activist shindig Broadway has seen since Chris Kulawik’s last guest arrived in November 2005, hundreds of students and community members yelled and picketed outside Lerner to protest the arrival of Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minutemen. They had catchy slogans.
“Workers of the world unite! Same struggle, same fight!”
“Minutemen, Nazis, KKK! Racists, fascists, go away!”
8:10 PM: A little Miles Davis music on overhead in Roone Arledge Auditorium strikes Bwog as ironic. Opening speaker Marvin Stewart steps up to the podium, and begins by thanking Jesus Christ and Chris Kulawik. “ARE YOU READY to surrender your liberties?” he demands of the crowd.
8:35 PM: Stewart is 30 minutes into a free-associative rant, ranging through scripture and America’s Consitutional Republican form of government (NOT Democratic). People in the increasingly restless crowd shout: “You don’t know shit about god! Black white supremacist!” “Go home! ”
to which Stewart counters: “I am home! God bless America!
to which the crowd replies: “BOOOOOOOOOOO!”
It’s getting more surreal by the minute.
Update 8:41 pm: Someone yells, “In Spanish, please!” The crowd bursts into a thunderous applause, which spirals into a full-out protest, complete with students wearing Mexican wrestling masks. The students are now standing up one by one, with their backs to the man, who has asked, “Are you standing with your backs to me? Why’d you come, no wonder you don’t know anything.” Republicans cheered, others sneered.
Update 8:45 pm: Some white-shirted students were just escorted out of the auditorium by security.
Update 8:47 pm: The man at the podium is still ranting, despite the beads of sweat trickling down his forehead and his voice-cracks… “Religion and morality are necessary for government.” Students chanting: “Wrap it up! Wrap it up!” Some guy just came out to try to get him to stop, and he said, “Let me finish…” he’s sweating, and looks angry. “All of you who are doing your chanting in here are the very ones that need this the most. But guess what, I’m not deterred.”
Update 8:51 pm: “I’m going to wrap this up because time is an issue.” With Kulawik looking uncomfortable, Stewart stops talking with a boisterous “God Bless America, and America Bless God!” Taking the podium, Kulawik chastens the crowd. “I was under the false assumption that this was an Ivy League School,” he says.
Finally, the Minuteman himself enters. “Now who’re you calling racist?” he shouts, putting his arm around Stewart, who is black. “I love the First Amendment. As soon as you graduate, you’ll all be investment bankers. I’ve been where you at. I know you hate yourselves.”
Update 9:00 pm: BWOG IS SHOCKED. STUDENTS WITH A BIG YELLOW SIGN JUST CAME ONTO THE STAGE. The sign says, “There are no illegals.” Students rise en masse from the audience and rush the stage. The Minuteman and the students engaged in a tug of war with the banner. More people rush the stage, prompting a fist-fight. One female student is kicked in the head. A guy in a pony tail (definitely not a student) rushes the stage and fights with students (several witnesses saw him kick a student) and then banded together with the Minuteman to shout the pledge of allegiance as the rumble spun out of hand, “One nation! Under God! Indivisible!”
There was at least two minutes of chaos between students, other students and the Minutemen. Bwog took cover.
Update: 9:01 pm: Security comes out, now the curtain is down. Students are still chanting, now everyone’s filing out.
Update: 9:15 pm: Students outside shouting, “They say, ‘get bent,’ we say, ‘let’s fight!’”
Update: 9:22 pm: A Bwog correspondent calls in a tip. A student defending the Minuteman right outside the gates on 115th was encircled by a group of protesters after a heated personal fight with just one of the protesters. The protesters then shouted, “Racist, go home!” Security showed up, and they started breaking up. Student last seen laughing on phone with friends. A mosh pit of triumphal students and community members dance and chant, “Asian, Black, Brown and White, we smashed the Minutemen tonight!”
Everyone and their mother has official responses to the brawl, after the jump…
- Bwogging by Lydia DePillis, Sara Vogel, and Will Snider