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Free speech advocate Seth Kuhns encourages a peaceful protest during the Ben Shapiro speech at the University of Utah on Sept. 27. (Nina Morse / The Signpost)

Protests erupted on Sept. 27 at the University of Utah campus shortly before conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro was set to speak at 7 p.m.

More than 200 protesters gathered at Presidents Circle and marched to the Social and Behavioral Science Building where Shapiro would be speaking.

According to Chief Brophy of the university police department, two people were arrested during the protests. One was cited with disorderly conduct and released, while another was taken to prison on the same charges.

Shapiro is an author and host of his own podcast show. He is also editor-in-chief at and is best known for his criticism of Liberal political philosophies.

A majority of the protesters were with the Black Lives Matter Utah group. BLM Utah leader Lex Scott repeatedly reminded marchers to remain peaceful throughout the protest.

A small number of counter-protesters wore red hats and sunglasses, reminiscent of the torch-bearing protesters of Charlottesville.

While the protest was mostly peaceful, there were times it became confrontational.

While protesters chanted “education not deportation,” a counter-protester chanted back “how about education and deportation?”

One counter-protester kept telling the crowd “just give me one example of Ben Shapiro using hate speech,” which brought more tension to the protest.

Sara Kang, a Korean-American student at The U, said one of the counter-protesters had used a racial slur calling her “eggroll.”

Kang said of coming to the protest, “If I don’t stand-up for people, who will?”

Protester and Utah graduate Darnell Crandall described the protest as another way to exercise one’s free speech.

“I think he (Shapiro) has every right to come and speak, but we have every right to be here to protest him,” said Crandall. “We are here to talk about racial bias in policing. We’re not here to change the narrative of free speech.”

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