‘Culture War’ event brings protests, counter-protests to UCA

Ravyn Cullor

Protesters and counter-protesters outside the Turning Point USA “Culture War” event Tuesday night screamed obscenities, spat and threw trash at passing cars and obstructed traffic outside the Colorado State University University Center for the Arts.

Upwards of 1,000 combined Young Democratic Socialists of America, Antifa, Colorado Proud Boys and people who couldn’t get into the event stood on opposite sides of Remington Street to demonstrate. As the protests and counter-protests moved north when the event let out, community members watched and filmed the clash from their homes.


A YDSA-organized march arrived at the west side of Remington Street, gaining participants as they walked from the Lagoon to the UCA, including people carrying Antifa and anarchy flags. 

“It’s important just to show the members of our community who are in these marginalized groups who are threatened and attacked by the type of policies that are supported by TPUSA and the Trumps,” said Reanne Townsend, CSU alumna and member of the Fort Collins Democratic Socialists of America. “I think it’s important for them to see that there are lots of members in the community that do support them and don’t agree with the type of stuff that’s coming out of the administration.”

The east side of the street was mainly populated by hundreds of people who couldn’t get into the event and members of organizations like the Colorado Proud Boys. A number of Colorado Proud Boys, an organization self-described as “Western chauvinists,” were filming and live-streaming the protests.

Louie Huey, a Colorado Proud Boys member, said he was live-streaming the event to expose a “Marxist revolution.”

According to Huey, around 40 members of Proud Boys were in attendance. Huey said his organization was not a Nazi group, despite chants from the other side of the street.

“I’m Hispanic,” Huey said. “My friends are Jewish. I have Black friends, all Americans, all colors and creeds. The news calls me and my Proud Boys a bunch of Nazi white supremacists. We’re not at all.”

CSU Police Department, Fort Collins Police Services, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, federal law enforcement and private security largely kept the groups physically separated throughout the night.

Police utility vehicles, bike police and groups of officers pushed the groups out of the active traffic on Remington Street, with protesters on the west side often screaming derogatory terms at them.

According to a statement by the University, only one citation was issued.


One protester, Liz Bunya of the Lakota tribe, said she was assaulted by counter-protesters who allegedly ripped her protest sign and tried to tear her clothing. She claimed the police on scene would not allow her to visually identify the woman who did it in order for her to press charges. 

Protesters on the west side of the street participated in chants in support of Black Lives Matter and against police and the University. Protester Jackson Watkins, a graduate student in the microbiology department, said the protest has larger social implications on campus.

“The biggest function of the protest is to show solidarity,” Watkins said. “I think protests are the way you get the ball rolling on systemic change. I don’t think they in-of-themselves are enough, but I do think they are one of the crucial first steps to showing solidarity.”

While some of the counter-protesters on the east side of the street expressed disillusion with the protesters, others supported their First Amendment right to free speech. 

“Honestly, I like (the protests) because everyone is given their free speech,” said event attendee John Christian, a freshman studying zoology. “My big belief is, ‘If you respect my opinion, I’ll respect yours.'”

Along with YSDA’s previous arguments in regards to a petition asking the University to cancel the event, protesters said TPUSA should not be protected by the First Amendment since they said it falls under the categorization of hate speech.

“There’s a difference between your right not to be persecuted by the state for your speech and the right for the University not to give you a platform for the speech,” Watkins said. “I think those are two distinct things.”

Ravyn Cullor can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @RCullor99.