London Student

KCL Libertarian Society event disrupted and campus evacuated

Smoke bombs and flares were thrown on KCL’s Strand Campus at a protest of KCL Libertarian Society’s event between Youtuber Carl Benjamin, known as ‘Sargon of Akkad’, and Yaron Brook, head of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Reports indicate that antifa protesters stormed the event and were involved in physical altercations with security guards, with one security guard being taken to the hospital. The whole event was recorded on lecture capture.

The most recent information from King’s College indicated that windows were broken, and there was an ambulance at the Strand Campus.

KCL Libertarian Society have released a statement, saying “The event has now been cancelled & evacuated after threats to the moderator. This was an act of violence, clearly intended to silence Yaron and Sargon’s planned debate, via a series of jackbooted totalitarian tactics that unfortunately proved successful tonight.”

Demilitarise King’s, a student society which organised a peaceful protest of the event, released a statement, saying, “We protested their event, and Benjamin’s speech was later stopped by Antifa, independent from our counter demonstration. The events of this evening show both the complexity and urgency of the present moment on university campuses.”

“It is a clear indication of King’s failure and inability to protect marginalised students while defending ‘freedom of speech’ and giving platforms to alt-right speakers.” Their full statement can be found here.

Hong, a Master’s student who was at the Strand campus, said he was studying in the common rooms before he heard a fire alarm at around 7 pm, and that everyone in the building was evacuated.

“10 minutes after that, a group of hooded and scarfed men broke the window panes of the main doors leading out of the King’s Building to the Quad, chanted something unclear, fists in the air and then left. It seemed that it was just flares and no actual fire.”

“Chatter among the crowd said it was set off to disrupt a talk by the Libertarian Society who were hosting a speaker described as ‘alt-right’. They did not seem to be King’s students as one of them asked for directions how to leave.”

A note, seemingly left accidentally by protesters, contained hand written plans for the protest: “if there’s only one security guard at the exit, we block them and let everyone in and on stage and take their mics away”.

The note left at the event | Credit: Eberle Miller

Another point read: “The guy moderating the talk is on my course and he’ll have a difficult time once the strike is over.”

The above quotes were written on a sheet of paper printed with chants about the ‘Stop the Elephant’ protest, which recently halted a large redevelopment of the Elephant & Castle roundabout.

Lincoln Cheung, a student who was at the event, said to London Student, “I believe the  first punch was thrown by a reactionary in the front row.”

“But antifa isn’t without any wrongdoing either.The damage of property and the attacks on innocent security staff and KCLSU members cannot be ignored.”



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Sanjana Varghese

London Student Assistant News Editor (City). Liberal Arts at KCL, Wellcome Scholar at the New Statesman.