A group of gun toting demonstrators protesting “radical Islam” and immigration held a rally on Saturday outside of the Henry Ford Centennial Library in Dearborn, Michigan, but according to The Detroit News, few participants were attendance.
City officials previously requested that residents stay away from the anti-Muslim, open-carry demonstration and according to reports, most residents not only listened, but obliged the request.
The protesters that did appear at the rally could be seen carrying guns and holding signs conveying their opinions. One such sign read, “Stop Islamization of America.”
Other signs reportedly promoted peace, others opposed racism and some gun wearing participants claimed that they were in support of Muslims, but that didn’t stop them from supporting their right to bare arms.
The protest comes as part of a group called “Global Rally for Humanity” — which has been promoted on Facebook across various cities, including cities in Alabama, Kentucky and Florida.
In Michigan where the protest was held, the laws regarding open carry are clear: a person with or without a concealed carry permit (CPL) can legally open carry a sidearm so long as it has been lawfully purchased.
In opposition of the rally, counter-protesters appeared, however, according to Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad, they were outnumbered “about two-to-one,” Detroit News reports. Interestingly enough, the police chief also stated that “nearly” the entire crowd was composed of out-of-towners.
The counter-protesters look to be about two-to-one (…) None of these people live in Dearborn. I’m really proud of our community for staying away.
An official statement imploring local residents to stay away from the scheduled protest was issued on Friday by Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly who urged locals to “go about” their “usual business” while ignoring those visiting from other areas.
(…) go about your usual business and ignore our visitors.
The protesters and counter-protesters were separated by a portable metal fence, which was erected for everyone’s safety.
Haddad noted that the fence was “offered” because they were under the impression that there could very well be a counter-demonstration and the protesters “agreed” to the idea.
A 27-year-old man from Detroit, Jeremiah Spriggs, was in attendance alongside other counter-protesters who chanted anti-racist messages such as “Hey-hey, ho-ho, racist facists got to go.”
Hey-hey, ho-ho, racist facists got to go.
Spriggs told Detroit News that his fellow counter-demonstrators were there to “fight racism and show solidarity with anti-racist representative from around the city.” He went onto say that while “the world gets worse and worse, people get more bold to show their racism.”
We’re here to fight racism and show solidarity with anti-racist representative from around the city (…) As the world gets worse and worse, people get more bold to show their racism.
Leading up to the event, Heidi Beirich, a hate group tracker with the Southern Poverty Law Center, was quoted by The Washington Post as having said that we have “never had this many events at once targeting mosques in this kind of national way.”
What are your thoughts on the protest?