In preparation of being turned away or kicked out of the University of Florida auditorium where white nationalist Richard Spencer will speak on Thursday, neo-Nazis are planning to target the university’s Jewish and black student centers with “flash demos.”
According to a post on the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, site founder Andrew Anglin is encouraging white nationalists to “stage multiple flash demonstrations” in public places that won’t have large police presences.
“You can go anywhere in the city to stage the flash demos,” Anglin wrote. “People have phones with cameras, the media is interested, it will get coverage. As long as it’s a public place.”
The website lists University of Florida’s Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student Center, the Institute of Black Culture, the Gainesville Sun newspaper, and a local Starbucks as potential targets.
Berl Goldman, the rabbi for the Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student Center, told ThinkProgress that the Chabad center is taking the threat seriously.
“We’ve increased our security profile,” he said. “Law enforcement are very well aware of this targeted audience they sent out this morning, so hopefully nothing will happen. But we’re prepared.”
“They’re trying to instill fear, but they will not accomplish that,” he added. “Not with us.”
Though he specifically lists four locations, Anglin is encouraging his supporters to stage demonstrations in places where police may not be.
“I wouldn’t say protest those addresses I just listed,” he wrote. “There might be cops there because of this article. I’m just giving you an idea here. Just Google Maps something up, and go there. Then do a short demo, then go somewhere else and repeat it.”
He adds examples of “simple and good chants,” including: ““You/Jews will not replace us” and “Shlomo go home.”
Instead of closing, the Jewish center decided to remain open for extended hours on Thursday and hold a “good deeds marathon” at the center and on campus.
“We’re responding to hate and bigotry by channeling the emotions,physically, spiritually, psychologically, in a good direction,” Goldman said. “The only answer to hate is love and education. The only answer to darkness is light and education. We’re urging students not to attend the event and to shun their agenda, their message, and this hate group.
Goldman described the environment on campus Thursday morning as “tense” with “a lot of anxiety” as law enforcement officials and representatives from national media outlets fill the streets. Many professors cancelled classes Thursday to protect students’ safety after Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) declared a state of emergency. But a number of students, showing that they will not be intimidated, played frisbee and walked through the area near the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts where Spencer will speak at 2:30 pm.
By the early afternoon, student protesters surrounded the Phillips Center, holding signs and chanting.
— Brooke Shafer (@BrookeWINKNews) October 19, 2017
Newsweek reported Thursday that the Daily Stormer is also telling white nationalists in Gainesville to cover up their Nazi tattoos.
This post will be updated as Spencer holds his event on Thursday.