A mob of masked Antifa members stormed a lecture hall at King's College in London on Monday night, shouting down — and then shutting down — an event being held by the Ayn Rand Institute featuring Ayn Rand Board of Directors chairman Dr. Yaron Brook and internet personality Sargon of Akkad.
According to The Washington Times, the event, hosted by the King's College Libertarian Society, was supposed to be a “discussion about Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism ... followed by a question and answer period." But the event took a turn for the terrifying when Antifa burst into the hall, made their way to the stage and began threatening the speakers with violence. Fights broke out on stage.
Dr. Brooks was lucky to escape unscathed. Audience members were able to catch the shocking incident on video, but the student recording was attacked.
According to the Examiner, violent protests also broke out outside after around 200 students were turned away when King's College decided they would prevent non-students from attending the event.
Students told the Examiner that they believe King's College turned a blind eye to the Antifa members because they disagreed with the content of the speech but couldn't legally prevent Dr. Brooks and Sargon of Akkad from speaking on campus. Students who waited outside the auditorium became enmeshed in a protest the school knew was coming, and as Antifa released smoke bombs and threw punches, students were in the line of fire.
"I strongly feel the university caved into the antifa protesters. They need to protect free speech and not prevent people from joining peacefully. They changed criteria just 2.5 hours prior to the event despite it having been scheduled for months. I am very disappointed in an institution a top university in the world acting cowardly like this," one student told the news organization.
As for whether the school was aware of the protest, it didn't just materialize out of thin air. Students from the "KCL Socialist Students, Intersectional Feminist Society, Kashmir Solidarity Movement, KCL LGBT+, KCL Action Palestine Society, KCL Justice For Cleaners, and the Demilitarise King's," organized the protest on Facebook, though they seem to claim Antifa wasn't invited.
They pleaded with students to "[c]ome out, be loud, interrupt fascist spaces and organizations, don't let their discourse be normalised!”
For their part, the King's Libertarian Society seemed ready to hit back — at least once the smoke cleared — claiming that Antifa was the fascists they were looking for at the event. Antifa's "jackbooted totalitarian tactics ... unfortunately proved successful," the group said in a statement. "Windows have been smashed, and gas bombs were lit on campus. A number of KCL security guards are on their way to hospital after being assaulted."