Naked doll hanging by a noose prompts fight at armed anti-lockdown protest in Michigan

'Hate crimes are not tolerated in Michigan. End of Story. Ok. Just so you guys know, I'll fight that, physically if I have to'

Justin Vallejo
New York
Friday 15 May 2020 00:27
Comments
Fight break out at Michigan protest police confiscate axe

A fight broke out between anti-lockdown protesters in Michigan after one began waving an American flag with a doll tied to the pole by a noose around its neck.

As armed demonstrators gathered at Michigan's State Capitol to denounce the governor's stay-at-home orders, one man began waving his flag with the naked doll attached in one hand while also carrying an axe in the other.

The skirmish broke out when another protester tried to grab the flag and doll away, saying it was "the wrong message" while another yelled "first amendment".

A scuffle breaks out among protesters during a rally against lockdown measures in Lansing, Michigan

Two men wrestled for control of the axe before they separated and police arrived on the scene.

A woman addressing the crowd said the display was a hate crime that would not be tolerated in Michigan.

"What that guy did is called a hate crime. I don't give a s*** who you are. Stop," she said.

"Hate crimes are not tolerated in Michigan. End of Story. Ok. Just so you guys know, I'll fight that, physically if I have to."

Michigan State Police said an axe belonging to one of the men was taken, and there were no injuries among the 200 protesters.

"We did have one incident between two demonstrators that we are investigating thoroughly. There were no injuries, no arrest at this time," Michigan State Police public information officer Lt Brian Oleksyk, said in a statement to The Independent.

The organisers, Michigan United for Liberty, dubbed the rally 'Judgement Day' to protest Governor Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home-order.

Ms Whitmer recently extended the order until at least 28 May, making it one of the strictest in the United States.

In a statement released before the rally, Michigan United for Liberty said they were protesting the "grossly unconstitutional and extremely destructive executive orders".

"Our purpose is to demonstrate mass opposition to Governor Whitmer's rapacious policies, and we ask every participant to be an effective representative of that message, through lawful and peaceful demonstration," the group said.

Ahead of the protest, Facebook removed Michigan United for Liberty's private group after comments were allegedly made threatening Ms Whitmer and lawmakers.

While firearms are permitted since Michigan is an open carry state, law enforcement issued a warning that anyone brandishing a firearm with intent to create fear could be arrested.

"While our desire is to interfere as little as possible in demonstrations, we will not allow unlawful, threatening or intimidating behaviour," Michigan State Police Colonel Joe Gasper said in a statement. "Based on safety concerns expressed following previous demonstrations, attendees can expect to see an increased MSP presence."

It was the third protest rally in Michigan since the state was placed in lockdown, with armed demonstrators previously entering the Capitol chanting "let us in", on 30 April.

Police patrol a demonstration by people protesting against coronavirus lockdown measures in Lansing, Michigan

Members of Michigan Liberty Militia had moved inside the building along with several hundred protesters demanding to be let onto the floor of the House.

The group was also at Thursday's protest, though the Capitol building was closed.

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