Police departments across America are bracing for another wave of leftist-inspired violence as protesters gather in 28 cities in 19 states on Saturday for the national "March Against Sharia," the Associated Press reported.
Counter-protesters in virtually every city where marches are taking place have promised to disrupt them, catching the attention of local police who have been wary of groups like Antifa and others that identify with far-left politics. These groups have demonstrated a tendency to provoke violent clashes with otherwise-peaceful conservative demonstrators, like those seen on Sunday in Portland, Ore. The MAS was organized by ACT for America, a conservative lobbying group that believes Sharia is “incompatible with Western democracy and the freedoms it affords." Marchers will gather in both smaller communities and large cities like New York, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta.
The Washington Post reports that “The marches set up the potential for more public clashes between far-right activists and their far-left opposition, similar to recent violent encounters between the political extremes in Berkeley, Calif., and Portland, Ore. While demonstrators argue they are protecting free speech and defending traditional American values, counter protesters say the marchers underscore a larger trend of intolerance that is increasingly evident across a politically divided country.”
In New York City, the rally kicked off downtown nearly an hour late with a crowd of around three dozen people, some of them in camouflage and waving American flags. A few wore shirts identifying themselves as members of far-right groups Oathkeepers and the III Percenters, according to WaPo. Fox News published some footage of the march, which can be seen below.
Across the street, separated by police barricades and a few dozen police, a few hundred mostly young people, including labor activists and Jewish and Muslim activists, and anarchists, blasted airhorns and whistles and held banners that read “Fascists out of NYC.”
Fox News reported that there have been "some clashes" between the marchers and leftist demonstrators around the country, though it didn't specify where.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 10, 2017
Frank Morganthaler, the vice president of the New York State Oath Keepers, told WaPo that the smaller turnout at his rally may have been the result of some people being “intimidated” by the threat of violence from opposition protesters.
“These people go wild,” he said, glancing across the street. “They're crazy. We've seen what they've done in other cities, breaking windows and other stuff.”
The counter-protesters say the March Against Sharia and its organizers are anti-Muslim. Some weekend shoppers are already worried things will escalate into violence.
Of course, some of the counter-protesters interviewed by WaPo were quick to wrongly associate their opposition with a man who stabbed three men, killing two, on a Portland commuter train last month.
Across the street and two sets of police barricades, Marjorie Stamberg, a New York City teacher, held up a sign that read "drive fascists out of NYC."
“Two people were murdered in Portland a few weeks ago by their people," she said. "If they tell you it's about free speech, they're liars. They're killers. They're haters.”
Here’s a live feed from the New York march:
And another from Lansing, Michigan:
And a feed from Chicago:
Twitter user @bbusa617 tweeted a map showing all the planned protests:
— ????brooks brown???????????? (@bbusa617) June 9, 2017
In Roseville, Calif. more than 100 counter-protesters were planning to show up, according to the local Fox affiliate. However, the Roseville Police Department is prepared and has called in extra officers and additional agencies to step in if things get out of hand.