ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The fallout continues after a protest at the University of New Mexico over the appearance of a conservative political commentator. Protesters tried to push their way into the SUN Ballroom, while UNM Police tried to keep them out. The scene is getting national attention Friday. Protesters claim their right to free speech was trampled on because police wouldn’t let them into the event.
People there to see FOX News personality Tomi Lahren claimed protesters tried to deprive them of their free speech by crashing the event. There were protesters chanting to shut down the event as they were trying to get through a UNM Police officer stationed outside the ballroom doors. Inside another officer and organizers try to hold the doors closed. New Mexico State Police were eventually called in. Organizers scrapped the speech early due to what they say were safety concerns.
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Lahren and attendees were escorted out the back early after someone pulled a fire alarm. She spoke on her Instagram afterward. “Not nearly enough officers were present. I don’t think anyone knew it would be this bad,” says Lahren.
Those events continued to play out Friday, including this headline on the Daily Lobo reading, “Students of color denied entry at Turning Point event at UNM.” “I was able to talk to three of the students who were denied entry. And they all showed me the proof of their ticket and described their experiences to me. And so yeah, so multiple students of color were denied entrance to the Turning Point USA,” says Daily Lobo Managing Editor, Maddie Pukite.
Managing Editor for the Daily Lobo, Maddie Pukite, says the protestors weren’t violent, but claims one UNM officer intimidated a protestor outside the ballroom. However, others are criticizing the protesters for getting out of hand and damaging walls inside the sub.
We called UNM police for comment on what happened Thursday night, but have not heard back. We also reached out to Turning Point USA’s UNM chapter but did not hear back. In Lahren’s video, she went on to say she had to be whisked away by police in an armored personnel carrier, but police have not confirmed that.