Controversial speaker in Wichita draws protesters, chants about 'no hate'

Published: Feb. 23, 2017 at 10:44 PM CST
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Shouts of "no hate in our state" filled the street near Crown Uptown Dinner Theater in Wichita Thursday night, as a group of people protested an event there featuring John Guandolo, a controversial speaker who they say spreads an anti-Muslim message.

The crowd grew to about 40-50 people at around 6:30 Thursday evening. People lined both sides of the streets in front of Crown Uptown, holding signs and chanting messages about acceptance and loving others.

A few years ago, Guandolo was supposed to come to Wichita to host a training event for law enforcement. It was sponsored by the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office, which later cancelled the event after many people voiced concerns about Guandolo's messages. They also said he promotes an anti-muslim agenda.

The group of protests at Crown Uptown on Thursday found out Guandolo was speaking in Wichita and said they came out to say they don't agree with him or those attending.

"I feel like there's a huge tide of hatred that's coming over our country and if some of us don't stand up and say this is not right this is not a way to treat our neighbors," said protester Tom James. "That's why I'm here."

Guandolo was in Wichita to speak to a group called ACT! For America. It's unclear who exactly is a part of that group, but the event was closed to the public and media.

Eyewitness News did reach out to Guandolo to see if he could comment on the speaking event or respond to the protests, but he was unavailable.