The Maroon

Chaos erupts as David Duke debates at Dillard

With Lasers trained on a protester, police struggle to maintain order outside the debate hall at Dillard University. Protesters gathered to speak out against former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke on Nov. 2. Photo credit: Nick Reimann

With Lasers trained on a protester, police struggle to maintain order outside the debate hall at Dillard University. Protesters gathered to speak out against former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke on Nov. 2. Photo credit: Nick Reimann

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Protests boiled over into confrontations with police during the Louisiana Senate debate Wednesday night, Nov. 2, at Dillard University in New Orleans. Demonstrators were upset about the university allowing former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke to speak at the university, as well as the decision not to allow the public to view the debate.

Police had to disrupt multiple attempts for protesters to force their way into the building at different entrances, sometimes using pepper spray and shoving protesters to keep them out.

Tracy Riley, U.S. Army Ret., who clashed with police, believes the authorities went too far.

“I think it was an overuse of force to pepper spray the students, not just of Dillard University but students of other universities who came here to support Dillard,” Riley said. “I think the appropriate thing to do would be to allow the students to observe and participate. They are citizens and voters, after all.”

The debate itself saw the candidates overwhelmed by Duke’s antics, with the former Klansman often screaming at the top of his lungs, leaving the other candidates flustered.

Duke’s attacks weren’t limited to the other candidates, either. In what was perhaps the most heated exchange, Duke screamed at debate moderator John Snell: “Could you not interrupt me and give me my time? Let me rebut! You’re a typical media hack! You’re trying to silence me!”

Each candidate took their chance to take a shot at Duke, with Caroline Fayard taking it immediately in her opening statement, and state Treasurer John Kennedy telling Duke, “It must be terrible to wake up in the morning with that much hate in your heart.”

In the few moments when Duke wasn’t stealing the show, the debate focused on issues such as social security, corruption in Washington and who the candidates are supporting in the presidential race. Duke didn’t hesitate announce who he’s supporting.

“I will be Donald Trump’s most loyal advocate,” he said.

During the debate’s entirety, protesters continued trying to enter the building, with a continuous theme being anger at Dillard president Walter Kimbrough for allowing the debate to take place without communicating with the students.

The disruptions continued after the debate, as protesters blocked roadways exiting the university, resulting in several being detained by police.

Duke addressed the protests during the debate, and in a final move, used his closing statement to condemn them.

“There are demonstrations by Black Lives Matter radicals against me. Why? Because I stand up for you,” Duke said. “Black Lives Matter says ‘kill police.’ I defend you from radicals that want to destroy America. I stand up for you.”

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About the Writer
Nick Reimann, Editorial Editor

Nick currently serves as Editorial Editor. In the past, Nick was Editor in Chief, Managing Editor of Electronic Properties, head of the Maroon Investigative...

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Chaos erupts as David Duke debates at Dillard