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EXCLUSIVE: KCL evacuated after smoke bombs were set off on campus and security guards injured

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Students at King's College London have been evacuated from the Strand after violent protestors broke into campus and set off smoke flares. 

Earlier this evening, a protest was held in response to the Libertarian Society's guest speakers Carl Benjamin and Yaron Brook.

draft letter published anonymously accuses Benjamin of being aligned with far-right groups such as the English Defense League and Milo Yiannopoulos. 

In 2016, a scheduled talk by Brook at Exeter University was relocated after the event was interrupted by students. The letter points out that Brook holds racist and Islamophobic views, in particular, he equated a Muslim ban to self-defence in a podcast titled 'What do you think about the immigration crisis in Europe?' 

Event organiser Danny Al-Khafaji revealed that KCLSU officials changed the event to student-only admission at the last minute.

The Libertarian Society was asked to reschedule the event as not enough security could be guaranteed, it is possible that King's already anticipated protestors as the above letter asking for the event to be withdrawn was addressed to the Chief Executive of KCLSU Mo Wiltshire. 

The peaceful protest quickly turned violent as Antifa protestors arrived at the scene and began assaulting university staff. There have been reports of smoke bombs and flares being set within the Strand campus. An ambulance was seen at the university entrance.

Footage published online shows a group of seven protestors storming into the Edmond J. Safra lecture theatre. 

The event was cancelled after the moderator was threatened and police were called to the scene at around 6:50 pm. 

Third-year English student Carys Hughes recorded a hooded figure running away from a smashed window pane and across the Quad shouting "not on our campus."

Speaking exclusively to TNS, she recounted the moment she heard shouting from inside the campus.

"We heard shouting coming from down the hall, I think they were shouting 'not on our campus.'

"Then a group of guys with scarves covering their faces marched past us shouting something about anti-fascism. A security guard tried to stop them but they pushed past him. Then the fire alarm went off and people started running past us, there was some screaming. 

"We could smell smoke and when we went into the courtyard we could see smoke coming from around the reception area.

"There was an ambulance but I didn't see anyone injured, but some paramedics did enter the building. A bunch of students applauded when the guys in masks ran out of the building." 

Speaking to TNS, a member of King's Libertarian Society told us that a King's security guard had allegedly been hospitalised with head injuries.

"The protest was organised by violent members of Antifa who came into the event with the intention of harming the safety of the speakers and the attendees.

"From what we know, security guards are in hospital with head wounds and smoke bombs were set off outside the university. The entire building has been evacuated."

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said they had not made any arrests yet.

KCLSU President Momin Saqib confirmed that security guards were injured, he posted his condolences on Facebook and wished them a speedy recovery. 

UPDATE

There have been reports of smashed glass on the floor, the Strand building remains evacuated. The image taken by Carys Hughes shows a King's security guard stepping over broken courtyard doors. 

Math student, Sil, was standing with his friend by the Great Hall when they heard shouting coming from the Strand Lobby, he told us:

"A group of Antifa wearing black ran down the hallway, they were told by security that they wouldn't get into the actual area by Edmond J. Safra. But they pushed through and chanted standard Antifa things, unfurled a flag and pushed through security into the lecture hall.

"Then we noticed the purple smoke coming from the lobby and the alarm went off. Once we were outside, we saw the Antifa shake the security guard and run out of the door."

UPDATE 11:49 PM:

King's Libertarian Society released a statement criticised the university and union management for failing to "prevent violent and unmasked activists storming the stage and the university at tonight's event."

UPDATE: 00:36 AM:

KCL Action Palestine released a statement pointing out the university's "failure and inability to protect students while defending 'freedom of speech' and giving platforms to alt-right speakers.' 

Update 10:25 AM:

A King’s College London spokesperson said: 
‘Last night’s event organised by King’s College London’s Libertarian Society had to be cancelled after protestors violently forced their way into the venue. The Police attended and we are fully co-operating with their investigation. We absolutely condemn the use of violent protest in any situation.
 
The university and Students' Union will be reviewing the incident to decide on appropriate action to be taken.
Update 3:55 PM:
Principal Ed Byrne released a statement confirming that a full police investigation is being launched. 
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