June 12, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On Saturday, June 10, vicious anti-Muslim fascists rallied in over 20 cities across the country—organized by “Act for America,” the largest anti-Muslim hate group in the U.S., with direct connections to the Trump/Pence White House. Claiming they were protesting Sharia law, the rallies were in fact explicitly organized to attack all Muslims.1 In many cities in the South and Southwest, their ranks were openly armed to the teeth, including armed groups like the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and others.
These pro-Trump anti-Muslim rallies were confronted by forces standing with Muslim people, and exposing the blood on the hands of these racist white supremacists for the recent attacks on and murders of courageous people who have stepped in to stop physical violence against Muslims. Anti-fascists were arrested at a number of these confrontations, including in Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver, New York and Santa Clara.
About 75 fascists at Seattle City Hall were drowned out by over a thousand people protesting against them with constant noise from drums, air horns, whistles, bugles, pots and pans, and chants. There were people young and old, and from various political outlooks, many Muslims, people from other religions, and atheists. People chanted “No ban, No wall, the Trump regime must fall!” “No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here!” “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!”
Refuse Fascism brought a banner displaying large photos of Ricky John Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, and Micah David-Cole Fletcher, and also a picture of Rahma Warsame, the Muslim woman severely beaten by a white supremacist in Ohio a week ago after she defended a Muslim friend. The Seattle Times quoted one person holding the banner as saying “It’s up to the people to stop the Trumpist regime.... He has to be stopped.”
After the fascist rally ended, the protesters marched to Occidental Square to listen to Muslim and other speakers denouncing the anti-Muslim bigotry inflamed by the Trump/Pence regime. Fascists came and provoked the rally, and police rushed in, doused the anti-fascists with pepper spray and arrested several.
New York City
For more than three hours, Foley Square in NYC was the site of a tense standoff as more than 200 protesters condemned and confronted a group of about 100 racist anti-Muslim fascists. People carried signs like “Drive Fascists Out of NYC! No to Anti-Muslim Bigotry” and “Smash Racist Ban on Muslims and Refugees! Let Them In!” Refuse Fascism was there with the huge “NO!” signs, and their large banner with their slogan in many languages: “NO! In the Name of Humanity; We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime!” They carried beautiful photos of the people recently attacked, two of them murdered, by these neo-Nazi, anti-Muslim forces. Refuse Fascism repeatedly called on people to give tribute to these heroes, and challenged everyone within earshot to “live like them.”
The mass blowing of whistles and air horns and the beating of drums was almost deafening. At one point, Refuse Fascism led a section of the demonstration to cross the street in order to challenge these creatures up close. Later, a phalanx of cops marched at the anti-fascist demonstrators, shoving and knocking people down while they attacked and arrested one youth. People were furious, and backed the cops right to the paddy wagon where they had taken the youth. At the end, Refuse Fascism led a march to nearby New York City Hall where other forces standing with Muslims had rallied earlier.
San Francisco Bay Area
Act for America called their anti-Muslim rally in Santa Clara in the heart of Silicon Valley, where there are many Muslim, Arab, and Iranian workers and families. About 50 people stood at the corner of a wide boulevard with red, white, and blue signs claiming Islam is against “our Constitution,” waved American flags, and periodically shouted “We Love Trump.”
The Unity Rally called by a multi-faith coalition drew Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religious organizations and congregations, and many others. Hundreds of people lined the street kitty-corner from the bigots for an entire long block. Some of the signs were “Stop the Hatred. Muslims Welcome Here” and “Love your Neighbor.” A group of Japanese Americans brought enlargements of posters that had ordered Japanese into concentration camps during World War 2.
Refuse Fascism rallied directly across the street from the ACT rally, and eventually drew about 100 people. This protest was very boisterous, as its goal was to “drown out” the anti Muslim bigots. Three Refuse Fascism activists were detained, then cited and released.
Approximately 50 fascists rallied at the Boston Commons in an attempt to stage their “March Against Sharia.” But before they could get organized they were confronted by counter-demonstrators who soon equaled or slightly outnumbered them. Refuse Fascism brought a contingent; the antifa network and activists from the LGBTQ community were also there.
As the fascists moved from one area of the Commons to another, attempting to form up their march, they were continually confronted by the counter-demonstrators, chanting “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA!,” “No Hate, No Fear, Immigrants are Welcome Here,” and other chants.
Three hundred protesters with signs including “Refugees Welcome, Racists Out” and “Love Your Neighbor” confronted several dozen fascists. Fascist signs included “Islam is un-American” and “End Muslim Immigration,” exposing their actual target—not Sharia law but all Muslims. After a dozen Oath Keepers went into the crowd of people opposing the fascist rally to provoke incidents, police used those incidents to attack and arrest several anti-fascist protesters.
At the San Jacinto Battleground, about 80-100 anti-Muslim bigots rallying were drowned out by 30-40 counter-protesters. Alternating between constant chanting and blaring Middle Eastern and Latin American music from loudspeakers, the counter-protesters pretty much kept the fascists from getting their message across. Across town, hard-core fascists staged an armed occupation at Hermann Park in the guise of defending a statue of Sam Houston, the slave-owning commander in chief of the Republic of Texas.
A few dozen of the pro-Trump “March Against Sharia” protestors rallied at the Texas statehouse on June 10—but they didn’t march anywhere. Their attacks on Muslims were drowned out by hundreds of counter-demonstrators who mocked and yelled at them for hours. They chanted “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA” at the anti-Muslim forces. One counter-protester challenged their attacks on Muslims by listing the crimes committed in the history of America. “Do you know what the f___ has happened on this land?” she yelled. How the f___ do you think your people got into power? F___ing genocide!”
Many of the anti-Muslim demonstrators at the rally in Paradise Valley Park were armed with handguns on their hips, while 20 members of the Arizona Liberty Guard militia, dressed in fatigues and carrying AR-15s, patrolled the area. Another dozen armed Oath Keepers were patrolling the crowd. There was a CounterACT Hate demonstration that took place on the other end of the park led by a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate.
1. See “Five Things You Need to Know About the Anti-Muslim Fascists Rallying on June 10,” by Sunsara Taylor. [back]