Bay Ridgites clashed at a march intended to unite the community on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Hundreds walked along Fourth Avenue in a “protest against hate” condemning Donald Trump’s election, citing the president-elect’s vitriol against immigrants, Muslims, and women. But a half-dozen conservative locals formed a counter-protest and challenged organizers, who they say overlooked the hate levied against law enforcement and average white people.
“They were leaving out hate against the police, hate against the white working-class,” said Liam McCabe, a Republican and community activist who felt he was joining the march rather than protesting it. “I thought their description of hate was very black and white. And I think the reality is, it’s much more nuanced, and so we wanted to challenge their narrative, but march in solidarity. Especially on a day like Martin Luther King day, we wanted to say that there is another side to hate and not everyone accepts their vision of what hate is.”
Ironically, some peace demonstrators hurled insults at McCabe and crew, but the contradictory conservatives were asking for it by bringing what appeared to be an intentionally divisive message to the party, another demonstrator said.
“It misses the point, because the whole idea of the march was to support solidarity — to come together as a community,” said Bay Ridgite Cem Kurosman, who came out with his wife and daughter. “There’s not a lack of support for the police, there’s a lack of support for solidarity. It certainly goes nowhere hurling insults back and forth.”