GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A small number of people started gathering at Ah-Nab-Awen Park on Saturday ahead of an expected rally organized by the Proud Boys.
Two groups, the Socialist Alternative and Justice for Black Lives Grand Rapids planned a counterprotest to try to prevent the far-right group from holding their event.
“I chose to be out here because I need to stand up against hate," one of the counterprotesters told us. "Hate has no home in Grand Rapids.”
Around noon, three people claiming to be Proud Boy supporters arrived. Protesters shouted at them, and the three left the park after being there for just a few minutes. It's not clear if anyone directly connected to the Proud Boys ever appeared at the park.
The number of protesters started dwindling after 1p.m. Organizers told FOX 17 they planned to leave the park by midafternoon.
A man stoped to pray for demonstrators gathered to protest the Proud Boys, who have a rally scheduled for noon at Ahnabawen Park. pic.twitter.com/mmYoapz6dx— Jim Sutton (@JimSuttonPhotog) July 10, 2021
Two men who spoke to the media told us they were not members of the Proud Boys but wanted to listen to what the group had to say if they had made an appearance.
“We have to understand each other to find a middle ground," one of them said.
More than a dozen Grand Rapids police officers on bicycles rode through the park just after 10 a.m. FOX 17 crews also spotted officers positioned on the roof of the nearby Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.