A raucous rally against CUNY’s School of Public Health’s commencement speaker ended in violence Thursday when demonstrators clashed with counter-protesters.
The scuffle broke out after an unlikely band of protesters — including conservative provocateur Pam Geller, Assemblyman Dov Hikind and alt-right bad boy Milo Yiannopoulos — blasted CUNY’s decision to select civil-rights activist Linda Sarsour.
A small group of demonstrators chanting “Make America Great Again” surrounded and roughed up 19-year-old counter-protester Heather Morris.
“They tried hitting me with their fists, their sticks, whatever they found,” Morris said after the fracas on E. 42nd St. at Second Ave.
“They’re a bunch of Nazis…They probably targeted me because I’m young and I’m brown, too.”
No arrests were made.
An outcry broke out in April after CUNY announced that it tapped Sarsour, a city activist who some accuse of being anti-Semitic, to be its June commencement speaker.
Sarsour’s profile has risen in recent months as she organized the Women’s March in Washington.
She has also led a number of city protests against police brutality and helped raise thousands of dollars to help repair a vandalized Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.
But Sarsour has also been criticized for denouncing Zionism and tweeting a photo of a young boy with rocks in each hand facing Israeli police, along with the words “the definition of courage.”
“Why would CUNY have a commencement speaker who supports terrorism and believes in throwing rocks?” Hikind (D-Brooklyn) said at the Thursday rally.
Geller expressed a similar sentiment.
“I wanna say a prayer for CUNY chancellor James Milliken that he rights this terrible wrong,” said Geller, best known for trying to run a series of controversial subway ads ripping radical Islam.
“That he would invite a pro-terror, vicious anti-Semite to keynote the commencement address this year is obscene and profane.”
Yiannopoulos, not surprisingly, launched an even more scathing attack on Sarsour.
“Linda Sarsour is a Sharia-loving, terrorist-embracing, Jew-hating, ticking time bomb,” said the former Breitbart editor who lost his job after suggesting that he supported pedophilia.
Several CUNY professors have come forward to resist the calls to replace Sarsour — saying that bowing to the critics would “conflict with the First Amendment and the principles of academic freedom.”
A CUNY spokesman used similar language in defending the decision Thursday.
“Some, who object to Ms. Sarsour’s positions, have called on CUNY to rescind the invitation,” the rep said. “To take such actions at a public university would violate the First Amendment as well as the principles of academic freedom.”