Numerous biker groups, white supremacists and militia members came to Detroit ready for war – all thanks to propaganda by the alt-right.
For the past week, conservative social media groups and publications circulated unfounded rumors that black-clad Antifa activists were planning to attack innocent Kid Rock fans. A headline in the conservative blog 100PercentFedUp.com proclaimed, “Masked Antifa crowds target Kid Rock’s Detroit concert.” The title of a similar story in Media Infidels read, “Leftist whiners to plan riot outside Detroit Kid Rock concert.”
On Tuesday, Twitter user Michigan Maga posted a photo of Antifa with weapons and their faces covered, declaring “Antifa plans to attack Kid Rock fans tonight in Detroit” and even accused me of having “done major work organizing the Antifa protest.”
The rumors prompted dozens of people to post online threats, including pledges to run over anyone blocking the street.
Thing is, there was no Antifa protest. Never was. That’s not how Detroit rolls. As we noted in two stories about the protest, the anti-Kid Rock rally was organized by longtime preachers and civil rights activists who adhere to Martin Luther King Jr.’s oaths of nonviolence.
If the counter-protesters were hoping for violence, they went home disappointed. More than 200 peaceful demonstrators marched on Woodward, leaving a lane open for cars. Detroit police even escorted the protesters to help ensure their safety.
On the sidewalk of the publicly financed Little Caesars Arena, where Kid Rock was kicking off a six-concert blitz, some fans of the Republican rocker taunted protesters with middle fingers, Confederate flags and an occasional racial slur.
Most protesters were unfazed and continued to march, carrying signs and banners and chanting “No Justice, no pizza.”
At Grand Circus Park, the peaceful protest ended with two speeches and a closing prayer.
“When we give you our dollars, you disrespect us with Kid Rock, and so we come today to say no more disrespect to Detroiters. … No one ever gave you a tax break. Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans and Little Caesars come into the city of Detroit and get whatever they want. We say no more.”
The crowd chanted back. “No more!”
While most protesters left, a few dozen stayed behind and heckled Kid Rock fans as they walked into the arena. A few drunk fans yelled back, one used the N-word.