University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill police released pepper spray and threatened to use a Taser on student protesters Tuesday evening when a crowd disrupted a speech by former Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo opposing tuition benefits to unauthorized immigrants.
Hundreds of protesters converged on Bingham Hall, shouting profanities and accusations of racism while Tancredo and the student who introduced him tried to speak. Minutes into the speech, a protester pounded a window of the classroom until the glass shattered, prompting Tancredo to flee and campus police to shut down the event.
Tancredo was brought to campus by a UNC chapter of Youth for Western Civilization, a national organization of students who oppose mass immigration, multiculturalism and affirmative action.
Before the event, campus security removed two women who delayed Tancredo's speech by stretching a 12-foot banner across the front of the classroom. It read, "No dialogue with hate."
Police escorted the women into the hallway, amid more than 30 protesters who clashed with the officers trying to keep them out of the overcrowded classroom. After police released pepper spray and threatened the crowd with a Taser, the protesters gathered outside Bingham Hall.
Police spokesman Randy Young said the pepper spray was "broadcast" to clear the hallway. He said officers' use of force was under investigation by the department.
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