I didn’t know it was going to be this bad. I didn’t know there were going to be security guards with assault rifles.
Luis Mejia, second-year mathematics major
Eight people, including two members of the anti-fascist group Joe Hill Brigade, were arrested by Cal State Fullerton University Police in riot gear amid a swell of protests and provocations outside Milo Yiannopoulos’ Tuesday evening speech in the Titan Student Union.
Yiannopoulos finished speaking as night fell, leading to the formation of multiple police blockades and Orange County Sheriff deputies on horseback.
Attendees to Yiannopoulos’ “Troll Academy” tour stop filed out of the TSU to be greeted by a throng of demonstrators and hecklers, which had not decreased in size throughout the day, spurring confrontations that almost became altercations. Some attendees were chased off of Titan Walk.
One female clad in riot gear was pursued by a crowd and University Police into the Pollak Library after throwing rocks and pepper-spraying people. The protester hid in the women’s bathroom of the first floor as police cordoned off the elevators with batons and shields. Within moments, she was escorted out without her gear, hands bound by zip ties, to the applause of onlookers.
University Police then ordered everyone to exit the library out of the east side. As students left the building, helicopters shined spotlights on the exodus and other parts of campus.
Earlier in the day, riot-ready police units flanked the protesters on Titan Walk. The officers rushed the crowds with shields, detaining two members of the Joe Hill Brigade.
The group’s “medic” Murray, who did not give his last name, said the members have since been released without charges.
“They hadn’t done anything but treat people for pepper spray all night,” Murray said.
An altercation between protester Keyanne Celina, holding her 2-year-old child, and another woman occurred when the woman splashed coffee on Celina following a profanity-laced exchange. The fight prompted a shot of pepper spray into the surrounding crowd. The next few minutes were chaos as it disbanded.
When the dust settled, one student was left on the ground, incapacitated by the pepper spray and covering her face in tears.
To her aid came Murray, who said he treated three people for injuries that day.
“I’ve been doing this on and off for the last seven months,” Murray said.
A left-wing activist, Murray also treated Yiannopoulos fan Elsa Aldeguer of the San Fernando Valley for pepper spray injuries sustained during the daytime altercation.
While Aldeguer believed in Yiannopoulos’ right to appear at CSUF, she said she stepped in to protect Celina’s child during the altercation.
“I think that everybody should be entitled to speak even though we might not agree with what they have to say,” Aldeguer said. “I tried to protect the little baby, and I got in between them.”
Before the protests began, students emerged from classrooms stunned to see security personnel accompanied by K-9 units drawn along every perch of campus, just hours ahead of Yiannopoulos’ speech.
“I didn’t know it was going to be this bad. I didn’t know there were going to be security guards with assault rifles,” said second-year mathematics major Luis Mejia while eyeing a helicopter circling the campus. “I was about to go to the TSU to study, but I just noticed that it’s being checked up right now.”
Monica Squires of Yorba Linda came to CSUF to talk to the protesters about different perspectives and approaches on the First Amendment and discuss differences with them.
“I don’t agree with the things that they’re saying, but they do have a right to say it, however hurtful it is,” Squires said. “I just wish that some of these individuals would extend the same courtesy to people who don’t think like them.”