Detroit’s chief of police said that the neo-Nazis who showed up to counterprotest the city’s Pride Parade wanted to start “Charlottesville No. 2,” Yahoo News reports.
June is Pride Month when the LGBTQ community celebrates itself and raises awareness of the issues in the community by hosting parades, outreach events, educational opportunities, and the like. However, in Detroit, the city’s Pride Parade was marred by neo-Nazis and white supremacists who showed up to counterprotest.
As reported by The Inquisitr, the counterprotesters showed up decked in Nazi and white supremacist regalia, some of them openly carrying firearms (which is allowed under Michigan law). Fortunately, other than some verbal back-and-forth between the two sides, there was no violence.
That’s because the Detroit police brought a heavy presence to the event.
On social media, the Detroit Police Department drew sharp criticism for appearing to escort the neo-Nazis at the event.
One Twitter user wrote, “Nazis protected by police at Detroit pride today.”
Another tweeted, “There are armed nazis with police protection.”
In fact, says Chief James Craig, the cops weren’t so much “protecting” the neo-Nazis as they were trying to prevent an all-out catastrophe. Specifically, says Craig, the neo-Nazis were hoping Detroit would go down in history as another U.S. city to be the scene of politically-motivated violence.
“It was their intent, at least through our intelligence sources, that they wanted Charlottesville No. 2.”
There were literal NAZIS protesting Detroit Pride today. Don’t EVER say racism isn’t real pic.twitter.com/2csNRhluwz
— Ari (@MakeU_ScreamAri) June 8, 2019
Craig was referring to the events of August 11 and 12, 2017, where neo-Nazi and white supremacist violently clashed at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The event ended in tragedy when one of the protesters on the white supremacist side drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer.
“This could’ve been a bad situation had it erupted into violence, it did not,” Craig said.
Meanwhile, Dave Wait, chairman of Motor City Pride, said that the much-criticized police presence was actually a good thing for both sides.
“It’s too bad that 10-12 people, mostly from out of town, who talk with hate came to an event to try to damper what 50,000 others are looking for: A quality time, and a true positive celebration,” he said.
Meanwhile, Detroit’s pride parade wasn’t the only pride parade last weekend that didn’t fully go off as planned. As CNN reports, loud sounds that some attendees mistook for gunfire caused panic, and several people were injured as they ran to and fro in the chaos. Seven people were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries.