• Fights, arrests as UW Republicans hold 'freedom rally' met by protesters

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Several fights broke out at a "freedom rally" Saturday at the University of Washington, hosted by the College Republicans group. The rally was met by a large group of protesters. See a stream recorded live from above and time-stamped updates below.

    Five people were arrested.

    The University of Washington was blocked from charging the school's Republicans group a $17,000 security fee ahead of a "freedom rally" Saturday, a federal judge ruled Friday.

    Officials with the University of Washington said Friday in a statement that they were "taking precautions to ensure the Patriot Prayer event unfolds as peacefully as possible."

    "This week, UWPD obtained credible information that groups from outside the UW community are planning to join the event with the intent to instigate violence," the statement reads. "For the safety of campus visitors and others not associated with the events, several organizations have cancelled or postponed their campus events that day and access to Red Square will be limited."

    University of Washington officials encouraged people to avoid Red Square and the surrounding area from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. WATCH LIVE BELOW, and scroll down for time-stamped updates.

     

     

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    According to a news release by Freedom X, a nonprofit law firm supporting conservative and religious freedom, the UW College Republicans applied to use Red Square on Feb. 10 for an appearance by Joey Gibson, of Patriot Prayer, at the rally.

    Freedom X officials claim the security demand is based on the conservative viewpoints that will be expressed at the event.

    Organization officials say counter-protesters from the left-wing group Solidarity Against Hate may show up to disrupt the event.

    In August, a Patriot Prayer Freedom Rally in downtown Seattle turned violent when counter-protesters from Solidarity Against Hate showed up.

    Police did not allow them to reach the rally in Westlake Park. 

    A barricade separated the protesters as police officers in riot gear stood by. Police said they used pepper spray and blast balls to disperse crowds after fireworks were thrown at officers. Three men were arrested.

    In January 2017, a man was shot during a protest at the University of Washington over a controversial speaker, Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos.

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