On July 24th, the Michigan Trump Republicans held a rally at Duggan’s pub in Royal Oak, MI. Metro-Detroit Political Action Network (MDPAN), Refuse Fascismand members of Solidarity and Defense staged a protest to reject the fascist ideology espoused by the President’s base. While the aim was for a peaceful demonstration, the Michigan contingent of Bikers for Trump violently escalated the situation, assaulting two members of MDPAN.
Joseph Fournier, a leader with MDPAN, made note that “known members of Michigan Militia and Bikers Against Radical Islam, who just love going into communities and tormenting families here,” were in attendance. The latter group recently attempted to drive through Dearborn terrorizing the majority Muslim populace, while thumbing their nose at Islamic traditions by hosting a pig roast, before being shut down by local Elk clubs. “Duggan’s is clearly endorsing them, despite what their official statement may say.” Fournier continued, alluding to a statement that this pro-Trump rally was simply the matter of fulfilling a reservation.
The first hour and a half of the protest was mild, peppered by the occasional jeers and Trump supporters wandering into the resistance area to profess the alleged evils of globalism, Black Lives Matter, and immigration. Encounters were tense, but ultimately not harmful.
That changed after 7 PM, when both sides clustered on opposite ends of the egress in Duggan’s parking lot. Shouts of “Lock Him Up” and “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA” clashing with “We’re Stronger Together With Trump” and the revving of stationary motorcycles.
While the Bikers for Trump camp were safe crossing into resistance territory, two women from the activist camp were not so fortunate. Witnesses at the scene state that a woman walked across the egress, then had her sign grabbed at, and later her person, repeatedly shoved by a female member of Bikers for Trump in bizarre posture, reminiscent of a soccer player trying to get physical while avoiding a red card. Within seconds, she was shoved by a second Trump supporter and struck back in self-defense. Several other activists rushed to her aid, including Adriene Avripas, a founding member of MDPAN.
Avripas was then grabbed by multiple Bikers for Trump members and had her megaphone stolen amidst the chaos. At this point, the Royal Oak Police intervened, separating the clashing groups. The first assault victim made multiple attempts to state the crimes committed against her, but was simply told by an officer on the scene to “go back to the sidewalk” and file a report. Minutes later, she was placed under arrest for assault.
Avripas made multiple appeals for the return of her megaphone, which was eventually recovered by Royal Oak PD, stating that they found it on the ground and saw no evidence of wrongdoing. Video evidence proves otherwise. No further arrests were made.
After being separated, there were no further instances of violence at the event, though several homophobic comments were lobbed at Fournier by the Trump supporters as they departed. Despite a perverse obsession with the American flag, one member of Bikers for Trump displayed where his true loyalty lay: