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Twitter Suspends Major Alt-Right Accounts in Hate Speech Crackdown

Community members take part in a protest to demand stop hate crime during the funeral service of Imam Maulama Akonjee, and Thara Uddin in the Queens borough of New York City, Aug. 15, 2016.

A number of Twitter accounts belonging to far-right, or alt-right, activists were suspended Wednesday, following the company's announcement that it would crack down on hate speech.

Self-declared white-nationalist National Policy institute, its magazine, and its head Richard Spencer all had accounts that have been suspended, as well as alt-right activists such as Pax Dickinson and Paul Town.

Spencer, who had a verified account on Twitter, has said he wanted a number of minorities kicked out of the country, and has called for "peaceful ethnic cleansing", according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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"The Twitter Rules prohibit targeted abuse and harassment, and we will suspend accounts that violate this policy," Twitter said in a statement.

But alt-right supporters have said the suspensions are a "purge".

"I am alive physically, but digitally speaking there have been execution squads across the alt-right," Spencer said in a video he posted on YouTube. "It is corporate Stalinism."

The alt-right has been described as an alternative to mainstream conservatism, but others say it is a collection of white supremacists and racists.

Twitter has suspended high-profile accounts before, including those of alt-right activists, but never so many at once. Normally, suspended accounts are unlocked after a short period of time, but earlier this year it permanently banned Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos over accusations that he helped incite abuse of actress Leslie Jones.