A bloody brawl broke out in Kalamazoo, Michigan between members of the far-right Proud Boys group and counter-protesters, Click On Detroit reported.
Police say the scuffle resulted in several arrests of both affiliated protesters.
Assistant Chief Vernon Coakley of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety stated there were a few people arrested but didn’t say exactly how many.
A fight occurred, people were fighting, and that’s when we stepped in, Coakley said.
The far-right group The Proud Boys planned a rally in support of police officers and to denounce Antifa. Then counter-protesters, described as the anti-fascist leftist group Antifa by protesters, staged their own event in the area at the same time to deflect their own rally, according to local media reports. However, Detroit Free press reports the protesters were actually, members of the People’s Defense League Of Michigan. The group saw the rally by The Proud Boys and immediately mobilized to counter their protest.
The incident occurred around 2 p.m CST on Saturday, members of the Proud Boys marched past Antifa members armed with rifles. Fists then started flying along with the combatants wielding sticks, batons, and using an unknown chemical irritant.
Police say, the Proud Boys released a chemical irritant, dispersing the counter-protesters, and continued marching down Michigan Avenue to Bronson Park, where they were confronted by another group of counter-protesters. When police arrived and ordered the crowds to disperse they began making several arrests of those that refused. Even a reporter for MLive.com was falsely arrested while recording live on Facebook. Journalist Samuel J. Robinson reported that some of the Proud Boys also used pepper spray on people. Robinson was charged with impeding traffic while reporting live on Facebook for MLive. According to MLive, Robinson was later released from custody on $100 bond.
Proud Boys has been called extremist by the Anti-Defamation League and described as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. This is due to their white nationalist memes and affiliations with known extremists, according to the SPLC.
Antifa in the same regard has been called a violent leftist movement by the Trump administration. Both groups dispute those descriptions of their organizations.
The Proud Boys, they not only have hatred for Jewish people and Muslim people, but they’re also very hateful of anybody who doesn’t look like them or act like them, said the Rev. Nathan Dannison, pastor of the First Congregational Church, which hosted a vigil by counter-protesters.
The website for the MPDL, or Michigan People’s Defense League, doesn’t seem to indicate its connected to Antifa, besides a comment about being against and defending its community from fascists. “MIPDL is a diverse group of individuals situated across racial, religious, and political lines all coming together to defend ourselves and our communities from those that would do us harm,” the website reads.
They add, “Whether it’s standing up to fascist violence or providing aid to those in need, community defense takes many forms.”
This isn’t the first confrontation between pro-police and anti-law enforcement protesters, last week Anewspost reported that a protest rally in support of police turned violent in Fort Collins, Colorado after counter-protesters showed up resulting in fights between the groups.
America is getting more and more heated as Americans seek to take out their anger on each other in the streets instead of debate their differences is a healthy manner.