SPOKANE, Wash --- A well-known British politician came to Spokane today amid controversy about his political ideals.
Nigel Farage was a key architect of the Brexit deal, where the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. He was invited to speak in Spokane by the Washington Policy Center who said he is a “strong, independent leader.”
Opponents claim he is part of the alt-right and pushes racist ideas, though.
Wednesday night, Farage addressed a crowd at the Davenport Grand, where he was one of the keynote speakers.
People crowded into the grand ballroom to see him, despite his controversial past.
Almost immediately he praised the Washington Policy Center, he liked their tough stance on unions in Washington.
“To stand up to the rights of an individual not to join a trade union is something that (Margaret) Thatcher and (Ronald) Reagan and the great people in politics would’ve defended and I’m honored to have a platform with you,” said Farage.
More than 500 people showed up to hear Farage speak. He talked about everything from Brexit to U.S. relations with Great Britain.
Outside of the Davenport Grand there was a far different crowd.
Dozens of protesters stood outside the Davenport grand for hours. They insisted Farage’s positions are racist and xenophobic.
Even with those accusations, the Washington Policy Center said Farage is a heavyweight in world politics. They said he is one of the most influential politicians of our time, and insist his rise to power helped President Trump be elected here in the states.
Protesters did not back down from this.
“The Washington Policy Center should’ve never invited him here…but they’re leaning more and more that way. It’s all about big business. People with money can keep all the little folks down in the ditches. That’s what I think is going on,” said protester, Stewart Smith.
Despite the opposition presented by the protesters, everyone was peaceful and nobody was arrested.
The crowd inside the Davenport Grand was impressive considering the cost to get in. College students got in for free, but tickets for everyone else were as expensive as $150.