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On Saturday, June 10, a small group gathered in Kansas City’s Washington Square Park for the March Against Sharia Law. The march was one of 28 events organized across the U.S by Act for America, an anti-Muslim organization that claims to have 525,000 members and 1,000 local groups across the nation. The approximately 40 marchers were confined to a small corner of the park by a movable metal fence and kept away from the approximately 75 counter-demonstrators by a heavy police presence on foot, horseback, and ATVs. Yellow police tape was stretched between trees providing further distance between the two groups. The marchers appeared to be mostly white men in their 40’s and 50’s, carrying large American flags, a Trump flag, and a Gadsden (Don’t tread on me) flag in addition to hand-made signs. Counter-demonstrators were mostly younger men and women with many students participating and included a few people of color. Some of the groups represented in the counter demonstration were Progressive Youth Organization, Democratic Socialists of America, the Green Party and Kind KC. Red flags and hammers & sickles were prominent.

There appeared to be no speakers on the marcher’s side of the event and most of the time was spent in waving flags and hurling insults at the counter-demonstrators. About an hour into the event, the counter-demonstrators moved to a different area of the park where 3 scheduled speakers gave short speeches and then invited anyone else who wished to speak to come up. At some point, the marcher’s moved to stand along Grand Ave. with their signs and flags and the counter-demonstrators moved to stand across the street from the marchers, where both sides continued to hurl insults at each other.

About 1 ½ hours into the event, approximately ¼ of the anti-Muslim marchers left the march and by the last hour of the march the marchers had dwindled to about ½ of their earlier numbers and the predominant chant was “Make America Great Again”.  There appeared to be some militia types in the group but it was difficult to tell because the police tape kept us well away from them. Towards the end of the march, I was able to get a little closer by driving by in my car. I stopped briefly to try to get a picture of a small group of men who may have been some type of militia group. Right after taking the picture, one of the men stepped closer to my car and very deliberately flashed the White Power hand signal.

Jan Behrend

Author Jan Behrend

Dr. Jan Behrend is a retired educator in the field of literacy education and a volunteer contributor to IREHR

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