Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Protesters chanting “Go home Nazis” sought to drown out the speech by a white nationalist at the University of Florida on Thursday, as the campus erected barricades and deployed hundreds of police officers to guard against unrest.

Richard Spencer’s event at the university in Gainesville, which prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency to prepare for possible violence, comes about two months after rallies by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to a deadly clash with counter-protesters.

The violence on Aug. 12 added fuel to a national debate on race, and Republican President Donald Trump came under fire for blaming both sides for the melee.

On Thursday, several hundred protesters marched outside a campus performing arts centre ahead of the speech there by Spencer, who heads the National Policy Institute, a nationalist think tank.

Amid heavy police presence, demonstrators taking part in the rally chanted “Stand up, fight back” and “Go home, Spencer.” A plane flew overhead with a sign that read “Love conquers hate! Love will prevail!”

A man hired as security for media was arrested for illegally carrying a firearm on campus, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office said.

Inside the venue, Spencer and protesters yelled at one another.

“I’m not going home,” Spencer said. “We are stronger than you and you all know it!” (Reuters)

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Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Demonstrators gather at the site of a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, at the University of Florida campus on Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

A man wearing a shirt with swastikas on it is punched by an unidentified member of the crowd near the site of a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, at the University of Florida campus on Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Demonstrators gather outside the location where Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist and spokesperson for the so-called alt-right movement, is delivering a speech on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Oct. 19, 2017. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Police monitor the scene as demonstrators gather near the site of a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, at the University of Florida campus on Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

People react as white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term “alt-right” speaks at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. Spencer delivered a speech on the college campus his first since he and others participated in the “Unite the Right” rally which turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

White nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term “alt-right” reacts to the audience as he speaks at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Demonstrators gather at the site of a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, at the University of Florida campus on Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Demonstrators gather at the site of a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, at the University of Florida campus on Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Demonstrators gather at the site of a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, at the University of Florida campus Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

A woman cries and is comforted by a demonstrator after she was refused entry into a planned speech by Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, at the University of Florida campus on Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

A man protests as he is carried away by members of the Florida Highway Patrol from the entrance to a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, after being refused tickets by members of Spencer’s security team, not pictured, at the University of Florida campus on Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Demonstrators gather at the site of a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, at the University of Florida campus on Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Members of Richard Spencer’s security team, in white, stand behind police and decide who gets tickets to a speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, at the University of Florida campus on Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Demonstrators gather at the site of a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, at the University of Florida campus Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

A man stands on a Nazi flag and an ANTIFA flag as demonstrators gather near the site of a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, at the University of Florida campus on Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Demonstrators rally before the speech by Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist and spokesperson for the so-called alt-right movement, on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Oct.19, 2017. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Demonstrators rally before the speech by Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist and spokesperson for the so-called alt-right movement, on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Oct.19, 2017. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Police monitor the scene at the site of a planned speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term ‘alt-right’, at the University of Florida campus on Oct.19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. A state of emergency was declared on Monday by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to allow for increased law enforcement due to fears of violence. (Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Demonstrators rally before the speech by Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist and spokesperson for the so-called alt-right movement, on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Oct.19, 2017. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Demonstrators rally before the speech by Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist and spokesperson for the so-called alt-right movement, on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Oct.19, 2017. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

A list of prohibited items are seen in preparation for the Richard Spencer speech at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Fla., Oct. 19, 2017. (Photo: Alex Menendez/REX/Shutterstock)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

October 19, 2017 – Gainesville, FL, USA – Sam Hyde of Houston, Texas, who is wearing a Nazi SS pin on his shirt, talks to the media prior to scheduled speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer at the University of Florida Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Ricardo Ramirez-Buxeda/TNS via ZUMA Wire)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Florida Highway Patrol officers stand outside the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts as they prepare the venue for Thursday’s scheduled speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer on Oct. 18, 2017 in Gainesville, Fla. Reports indicate security for the event will cost about $500,000. (Phot: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Police survey the area from atop a building before the speech by Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist and spokesperson for the so-called alt-right movement, on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Oct.19, 2017. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Protests against white nationalist Richard Spencer in Gainesville, Fla.

Tyler Tenbrink, a self proclaimed White Nationalist who drove from Texas, stands before the speech by Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist and spokesperson for the so-called alt-right movement, on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Oct. 19, 2017. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)