It was a day of protests and counter protests at the University of Washington Saturday as campus Republicans hosted the conservative group "Patriot Prayer" for a rally in Red Square.
A big group of UW campus police and Seattle police officers were also on hand over fears that the rally could erupt in violence.
While the protests were mostly peaceful, at one point some protesters appeared to clash with police. A handful of people appeared to have been detained by officers.
The UW Campus Republicans took the school to court over a $17,000 security fee for Saturday's rally. On Friday, a judge blocked campus police from charging the club, saying it would stifle free speech.
UW President Ana Mari Cauce had warned there could be violence at Saturday's rally, but they wouldn't cancel the event.
The College Republicans’ invited guest Saturday is Oregon activist Joey Gibson of the Patriot Prayer group. The same group visited Seattle in August and was met with controversy and counter-protesters. The scene that day appeared tense but remained largely peaceful, overall.
However, that wasn’t the case in January of 2017 when controversial conservative Milo Yiannopolous visited campus for a talk at Kane Hall. Outside, violent protests broke out in Red Square; one person was even shot and wounded.
Security fees for that day ended up at more than $70,000 between UW police and Seattle police. Swanson says his group paid around $9,000 in security costs for that event. Since then, UW says it clarified its existing policies around security assessments.
However, the UW College Republicans suit calls the policy as applied unreasonable “with the effect of chilling, marginalizing or banning the expression of conservative viewpoints.”
“It goes completely against the idea that the school is supposed to be a ground for free speech, a place for intellectual honesty,” said College Republicans President Chevy Swanson. “I think they’re trying to avoid that by trying to say controversy needs to be shut down or not our responsibility.”
KING 5's Eric Wilkinson was at the rally and tweeted the last developments.
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