The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website run by Andrew Anglin, encouraged its supporters to target Gainesville black and Jewish cultural centers and religious institutions during Richard Spencer’s controversial speech Thursday at the University of Florida.
Anglin posted a piece on his website, which has been banned from several domains in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville and the site’s posts about it, telling his supporters who were not going to the speech to take part in “flash demos,” according to the Anti-Defamation League. The new tactic, which emerged after Charlottesville, calls for white supremacists to show up unannounced at locations where police and protesters are not already gathered, according to the ADL.
Spencer’s speech at the University of Florida led Governor Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency for Alachua County, where UF is located. More than 500 police officers filled the Gainesville campus ahead of the speech, the Palm Beach Post reports. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside where Spencer and his supporters were speaking, and greeted him angrily with signs and banners. Inside the auditorium, which was about half full, many in the crowd chanted and yelled as Spencer tried to speak.
Many tickets were taken by protesters, while others used their tickets to get a free drink. At least one Gainesville bar had offered a free beer in exchange for a Spencer speech ticket.
The Daily Stormer plan posted by Anglin appeared to be calling for disruptions outside of the Gainesville campus while the focus was there. But as of 3:45 p.m. Thursday, there were no reports of demonstrations at the locations mentioned in The Daily Stormer post.
Anglin wrote he wanted to see the entire city “taken over by our guys.” He posted the addresses of the Chabad Jewish Center, the Institute of Black Culture, the Gainesville Sun and Starbucks. The coffee shops are apparently on the list because founder Howard Schultz is Jewish. He told his followers to find additional locations, demonstrate for 10 minutes and then move on to another place. He also said the chant “Jews will not replace us,” heard widely in Charlottesville, should be used.
“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.”
In his piece, Anglin also told his followers to show up dressed in regular clothes and cover up racist tattoos. He also told them not to wear khakis and polo shirts, as that has been described as the new “uniform” of white supremacists, the ADL says.
Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell said police were prepared for the white supremacists and protesters.
“I feel great about the preparations. I really do. It’s been a collaborative effort. People have been very well-informed and very comfortable sharing information,” Darnell told the Gainesville Sun. “We fully expect something to happen just because of the volatile nature of what has occurred elsewhere. If past history is a prediction of future actions, we certainly have that as a concern.”
Those targeted by Anglin and The Daily Stormer also took preparations.
“We’ve increased our security profile. Law enforcement are very well aware of this targeted audience they sent out this morning, so hopefully nothing will happen. But we’re prepared,” Berl Goldman, rabbi for the Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student Center, told Think Progress. “They’re trying to instill fear, but they will not accomplish that. Not with us.”