Anti-Muslim “March Against Sharia” Rally in Denver Met with Resistance

Denver, CO – The anti-muslim extremist group ACT for America organized a “March Against Sharia” in multiple cities across the US today. Unicorn Riot was on the ground documenting the event in Denver, as well as a planned antifascist counter-protest.

Around 3 PM the “March Against Sharia” was rallying at the capitol and a crowd of antifascist opponents had gathered across the capitol lawn.

As the official “ACT for America” rally with speakers began at the top of the capitol steps, the antifascist counter-demonstrators gathered at the bottom of the steps, along Broadway.

One Muslim woman who attended the counter-protest encouraged those at the “March Against Sharia” to make a friendly visit to their local mosque to get to know their Muslim neighbors.

The anti-racist counter-protest was also listed as a “Portland solidarity vigil”

Masked antifascist counter-protester offering free supplies to the homeless. (Civic Center Park, adjacent to the rally site at the capitol grounds, is frequented by displaced and/or houseless individuals)

Umbrella with ‘anarchy’ circle-A

At about 3:30, a contingent of local neo-Nazis, including several known posters on the Nazi website Daily Stormer, arrived bearing “crusader flags” and hats which read “Make America Hate Again.”

Local nazis with “crusader flags”

Shirt with symbol of Traditionalist Worker Party, neo-nazi group behind April Pikeville, KY hate rally

An altercation between people from the two sides occurred around this time, and one arrest was made. The anti-racist demonstrator arrested from the scuffle was charged with assault, interfering with a police officer, and disturbing the peace and placed on a $500 bond. Joshua Yeakel and William Planer, both known neo-nazis, were also seen being detained by police after one of them brandished a knife.

Joshua Yeakel and William Planer being detained

Yeakel and Planer were eventually released and were seen leaving the capitol grounds after police told them to vacate the area. Both men were reportedly kicked out of the official “March Against Sharia” rally before getting into a scuffle with antifascists. William Planer was seen at the white nationalist ‘Proud Boys’ rally in Boulder on June 3 wearing a shirt that said “proud to be fascist.”

Some of the attendees at the official March Against Sharia rally on the capitol steps were dressed up in costume, with some comparing their garb to those worn by LARPers (practitioners of LARPing, or live action role-playing).

Costumed attendee at ‘March Against Sharia’ today in Denver, Colorado

Others in the “March Against Sharia” crowd hurled sexist epithets at female counter-protesters; “March Against Sharia” organizers ‘ACT for America’ claim to be concerned with protecting women’s rights.

As the rally wore on, those who came to hear the anti-muslim speeches at the rally began to leave, some of who were followed and confronted by counter-protesters. After several confrontations, a standoff ensued with Denver Police officers forming a line to keep the right-wing anti-Muslim rally attendees separated from their anti-racist opponents.

(Click here to read our analysis of the Denver Police Department protest control manual, leaked to us by an anonymous source in 2016)

A large formation of Denver police in riot gear with batons was deployed to force the anti-racist demonstrators through Civic Center Park, away from the capitol steps off Broadway where the anti-racist protest had assembled throughout the afternoon.

The riot cops cleared us out of the park and pointed a tear gas launcher in my face from 3 feet away…The xenophobic nationalists were unable to “March” for their agenda and cut their event short by over an hour so they could run away under the protection of DPD.

Our comrades also managed to hand out close to 200 supply packs to homeless people in the park amongst all the chaos.” -antifascist demonstrator

As the right-wing March Against Sharia attendees continued to leave, some found themselves followed by antifascist counter-protesters. One counter-protester was arrested around this time, jailed on charges of interference and disturbing the peace, and placed on a $500 bond. Another two arrests of anti-racist protesters by Denver Police, which we have not confirmed details about, can be seen in a video broadcast Saturday night by 9news.

(In 2016, a Unicorn Riot investigation found that Denver Police officers were paid to attend a seminar given by Sebastian Gorka, an advisor to Donald Trump. Gorka is known for his extreme anti-Muslim views, was once a national security editor for the far-right webstie Breitbart News, and was recently exposed as a longtime member of a Hungarian pro-Nazi organization.)

 


These events in Denver come on the heel of last week’s rally in Boulder by the white nationalist “Proud Boys” fraternity. The white supremacists, neo-Nazis and “alt-right” personalities in attendance were outnumbered by hundreds of opponents, and ended up ending their event early before being chased out of town by local youths on skateboards.

 

by Wendy Parker and Chris Schiano
video by Pat Boyle

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Timeline of related Unicorn Riot stories over the past year:

June 13, 2016: Denver Police Attend Seminar Given By Anti-Muslim Trump Consultant

June 26, 2016: Interview with Yvette Felarca on Anti-Fascist Action Against Sacramento Rally

July 1, 2016: Counter-Trump Rally Brings Indigenous Activists, BLM, Vets vs Hate, 3%er and Breitbart Reporter

July 12, 2016: Major Neo-Nazi Merchandise Distributor Exposed in Denver Metro Area

November 10, 2016: Denver Shuts Down I-25 in “Unite for Better Than Trump” Rally

December 12, 2016: Ogden Street Nazis Exposed in Denver’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood

Jan-May 2017: Report-backs from the trial of white supremacist 4chan shooter Allen ‘Lance’ Scarsella: A 10-part series

January 20, 2017: Denver’s #J20 Protests: A Day of Unity, Militance, and Confrontation

January 25, 2017: Fights Break Out and Trump Hats Burn as Breitbart Editor Milo Yiannopoulous Speaks at CU Boulder

February 23, 2017: Picket Line and Call-In Campaign to Cancel Turning Point USA Conference

March 4, 2017: Black Bloc Confronts March 4 Trump in Denver

March 18, 2017: Denver Antifascists Oppose Right-Wing Turning Point, USA Concerence at Grand Hyatt

March 30, 2017: Denver’s Pro-Trump Rally Immobilized by Anti-Trump Radicals

April 28, 2017: Confrontation Looming As Neo-Nazi Groups To Hold Rally in Pikeville, KY

April 29, 2017: Standoff Between Neo-Nazis and Antifascists in Pikeville, KY

May 10, 2017: Far-Right “Race War” Advocates Fail To Find Platform at Minnesota Capitol

June 7, 2017: Far-Right ‘Proud Boys’ Hold Free Speech Rally Attended by Colorado Neo-Nazis

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