A pro-life event at Virginia Commonwealth University was disrupted by liberal students and alleged members of Antifa, who hurled insults and physically assaulted attendees, according to reports. Kristen Hawkins, who was speaking at the event, accused the university of failing to protect freedom of speech and thought, while videos showed protesters screaming profanities and throwing punches. Brown, another speaker at the event, said the students were “overtly leftist” and refused an invitation to ask questions. Meanwhile, Students for Life, the organization that held the event, said some of the protesters were members of Antifa, citing their signs and clothing.
The incident occurred during Hawkins’ Lies Pro-Choicers Believe tour, where she and her co-speaker, Isabel Brown, were scheduled to talk about abortion. The protesters began hurling insults and screaming “f**k pro-lifers” and “get out Nazi fascists.” In a video posted by Students for Life, Hawkins approached the school security for help, but protesters continued to scream. Eventually, a student screamed that the protesters were assaulting Hawkins. Brown claimed punches were thrown, and Autumn Higashi, the Students for Life Chapter President, was injured.
Two private security personnel and local police intervened and threw protesters across the room. Students were then escorted out of the room, leaving the pro-life attendees behind. Brown expressed surprise at the “violent” protests and said that they were “escorted into a locked room for about two hours for our own ‘safety’ while violent protesters walked free.” Natalie Hoskins III and Anthony Marvin were arrested at the event, with Hoskin charged with assault and Marvin given a count of disorderly conduct.
Students for Life has requested that the university allow the women to return to campus to give their speeches, but it is unclear if the university will allow it. Kristi Hamrick, the group’s Chief Media Strategist, claimed that Antifa members were among the protesters, citing a flyer posted by Kristopher Goad. Goad, however, denied promoting the event but said he was covering it as a “local journalist.” The incident raises concerns about freedom of speech and the safety of attendees at public events.