This weekend, while LGBTQ Detroiters were celebrating at Motor City Pride, they were interrupted by an armed Neo-Nazi group marching with police protection, tearing up rainbow flags, and shouting homophobic and racist remarks.
The protestors were from the National Socialist Movement (NSM), which is one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the United States. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, classifies the NSM as such and says it is known specifically for “theatrical and provocative protests.” According to The Detroit Times, the police were attempting to keep the neo-Nazi and the Pride attendees apart from one another, but many attendees vented on social media at how frustrating it was to see the police seemingly protecting Nazis as instead of protecting Pride participants.
In one photo from the event, an NSM member appears to be urinating on an Israeli flag. In videos posted to social media, NSM members march through a crowd and someone yells “fuck you, f*ggots” into a bullhorn.
Today at Motor City Pride, a friendly LGBT+ event, Detroit PD escorted Nazi's in full uniform outside of the entrance to the festival. Detroit PD bruised those that tried to intervene (see below) and allowed this to happen. pic.twitter.com/lDcbemzhek
— marc (@marcklock) June 9, 2019
Motor City Pride is the largest pride festival in Michigan, and organizers expected more than 20,000 people to attend the event. The neo-Nazi protests come on the heels of a Detroit man’s arrest for allegedly killing two gay men and a trans woman and stabbing two others. Prosecutors believe that the victims were targeted because of their membership in the LGBTQ community.
“It is horrifying and heartbreaking that the three victims killed in Detroit last month were allegedly targeted because they were LGBTQ,” said Sarah McBride, the National Press Secretary for the HRC, in a statement regarding the killings. “The epidemic of hate violence that targets people of color and LGBTQ people, particularly Black trans people, is an urgent crisis. Our policymakers and leaders must do more to ensure the safety and dignity of every person in our country.”