"There is nothing more American, than to stand for justice!" shouted Ahmed Ghanim, speaking to a crowd of one hundred surrounding the Fist of Joe Louis in downtown Detroit. At high noon, two days prior to the celebration of America's independence, protesters gathered to demand the impeachment and removal of the President. Metro-Detroit Political Action Network (MDPAN) hosted the Detroit event, which paired with a sister march in Ann Arbor and joined resistance in major cities around the nation. Their reasons for shaking off the yolk of tyranny were as varied as the signs they waved.
Treason was among the most popular reasons for demanding the President's removal, as links between Russia, Trump, and his staff have been unearthed at a rapid pace throughout Robert Mueller's federal investigation. This is following Trump's firing of the initial investigator, FBI Director James Comey, which only intesified suspicions for traitorous activity. One activist held a "Truth Over Tweets" sign, and Trump's activity on the social media platform could be grounds for removal in itself, given that he's used his account to intimidate potential witnesses, attack the free press and silence dissent from the citizenry. Others decried his assault on healthcare and pandering to white nationalism and misogyny.
Braving the sweltering July heat, the resistance lined the street with their signs and received a flurry of supportive honks from traffic passing by. While the majority of the feedback was positive, the occasional drive-by Trump supporter would demand the attendees "get a job!", oblivious to the irony of that statement's usage on a holiday weekend.
Local media also came out in force for the event, with representatives from WXYZ 7, Fox 2 and WDIV Local 4 sending camera crews. Allie Gross of the Detroit Free Press was also on scene for more in-depth reporting, along with Steve Neavling of the Motor City Muckraker.
At 12:45 PM, the rally began in earnest. Highlights included the aforementioned Ahmed Ghanim, delivering a sobering and incendiary tale of his tribulations living under an oppressive regime in Egypt and emigrating to this country. "America has given me what I haven't found in any other land. [It's] Given me the freedom, given me the right to talk, given me the right to vote and given me the right to protest." After a chorus of cheers, he continued. "The most dangerous thing is normalizing what's wrong, that's how we were raised under a dictatorship...What is the difference between a dictator from a third world country facing corruption charges, and Donald Trump? There is no difference!"
Abhay Sinh Rathwa provided musical interludes for the speakers, whose soulful baritone evoked classic protest songs "Talkin' 'bout a Revolution" by Tracy Chapman, "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cook and Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind". The latter elicted a response from nature itself, as wind gusts erupted off the Detroit River, threatening to carry off Abhay's sheet music were it not for the MC holding it to the music stand.
Refuse Fascism sent a delegation to the march, with Vicki, leader of the Detroit chapter, providing a booming mantra that Trump and Pence must go for their repeated attacks on the marginalized in this country. The MC concluded the rally by reciting Bill Pullman's Independence Day speech, modified to reflect Trump's takeover versus an extraterrestrial invasion.
With that, the protesters took to the streets. Thanks to a gracious Detroit Police Department, they were able to march unimpededed up Woodward and through Campus Martius. A man wearing a plaster caricature head of Trump and MDPAN stalwarts holding a "Grab Him by the Treason" banner acted as the standard bearers. Passers-by and outdoor diners greeted the activists with cheers, and chants of "2-4-6-8 Time to do away with hate", "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA" and "Liar Liar Pants on Fire, Donald Trump Must Retire" echoed sonorously off the steel and glass towers bordering the route. By 2 PM, the resistance returned to the Fist, pleasantly exhausted from exercising their civic duty to resist an illegitimate authority.