Proud Boys, counter-protesters clash in Kalamazoo
A far-right group and counter-protesters clashed in Kalamazoo Saturday afternoon.
The confrontation started just before 2 p.m. on E. Water and N. Edwards streets.
Members of the Proud Boys, an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were there for a planned rally. In response to publicity about the event, counter-protesters, including the People’s Defense League of Michigan, staged their own event in the area, police say.
When the Proud Boys arrived at the peaceful counter-protest already underway, fights broke out in the streets. News 8 crews saw people punching, kicking and even pepper-spraying one another.
However, the police response was criticized by some activists. Later that evening, a peaceful protest was held outside the KDPS building.
“They still came push everyone out, walking around telling everyone this is their park, throwing up the white power sign saying Black lives don’t matter is that Kalamazoo was about that’s not what Kalamazoo about right. So, we are the leaders to come out and say that’s not what Kalamazoo is about,” said Quinton Bryant, one of the protesters.
Organizers say they feel authorities allowed the Proud Boys to incite violence earlier that day.
“You don’t wait until things get violent when you have a group that is known for violence,” said Michelle Iris Serlin, one of the protesters.
Around 10:20 p.m., protesters were blocking traffic and demanding police explain why they didn’t stop the Proud Boys before the violence began.
MLive says one of its reporters, Samuel Robinson, was arrested on an impeding traffic charge. He has since been released. An MLive editor told News 8 they believe Robinson was “wrongfully detained.”
“The working press must be assured the right to cover public events, that clearly are in the public interest without reprisals,” said John Hiner, vice president of content for the MLive Media Group in a statement. “These situations are difficult for all involved — they are working it, just like the police.”
There is more at the link above.
Proud Boys moves through western Michigan amid counter protests
Members of the Proud Boys group moved through western Michigan on Saturday.
The group originally planned to hold a rally in Arcadia Creek Festival Place in Kalamazoo, an outdoor area and event space. After hundreds of counterprotesters and police arrived at the location, the group began to move through the city.
he Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Proud Boys as a hate group because of what the center says is the group’s frequent denigration of Muslims and Islam, misogynistic rhetoric, and its role as a gateway to other extremist groups.
Kalamazoo city leaders said the Proud Boys did not reserve any park space or request a permit to host an event in the city, but Kalamazoo Deputy City Manager Jeff Chamberlain said groups don’t necessarily need a permit to protest in the city.
A church reserved Arcadia Creek Festival Place at the same time the rally was set to start in what organizers said was a counterprotest against the Proud Boys.
Pastor Nathan Dannison said they have to stand up for their fellow community members.
“It’s up to the rest of the community to stand up and say these are people and we’re not going to stand by while you come to bash them or do violence to innocent people,” Dannison said.
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