Over 50 people gathered along the sidewalk on Post Road in Warwick to protest the results of the recent Presidential election. Protesters held signs in support of President Donald Trump who maintains, without evidence, that the recent election was plagued with voter fraud and that Joe Biden has not won the presidency. The event was in support of the so-called “Million MAGA March” happening in Washington D.C., and was labeled as a ‘Stop the Steal’ event.
Across the street, outside of a Dunkin’, a group of about a dozen people counter-protested in support of democracy and against the white supremacy that has defined Trump’s presidency. The counter-protest was organized by RI Pride X and described as a “Queer, Pro-Democracy Counter-Protest Noise Rally.” The counter-protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter” and waved BLM, Rainbow, and Transgender flags for the duration of the event.
About an hour into the protest, a Trump supporter confronted the group of counter-protesters.
“We were about to pack it in, just because we were outnumbered,” said George Marley, who helped organize the counter-protest. He says he was assaulted by two Trump supporters. “It seemed that our message was falling on deaf ears. Then, as we were having that discussion, out of the corner of my eye I saw someone coming up on me. One of the younger members of our protest interjected and got right in there. The Trump protester threatened her and they got into it. He just overpowered her. I stepped in the middle of the two of them. I looked him in the eye and I said, ‘You need to go back to the other side of the street. You need to go back to the other side of the street.’
A community member’s livestream provides a view of the confrontation which seems to support Marley’s statement. It shows the first Trump supporter approaching the counter-protesters at about 55:15.
“As the Trump supporter advanced, I believe it was his son that came up behind me and hit me the first time. And then his father, as he was falling back, swung at me and hit me as well.” Marley paused here. “The son was arrested for a moment and I believe was released. The father was arrested, and I pressed charges.”
“What do you make of this reaction?” asked Reporter Steve Ahlquist.
“It really shows the level of anger and misinformation that the far right has. They’re not willing to accept the results of the election,” said Marley. “They shouted, ‘All Lives Matter’ continuously, in direct opposition to us shouting ‘Black Lives Matter.’ The ignorance and hate in that community is something that we, as a state, have to tackle, have to talk about, or this is going to continue to get worse.”
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“How did the Trump protesters react to one of their members being arrested by the police, given their support of the police as evidenced by the Thin Blue Line… flags some were waving?” asked Ahlquist.
“Earlier in the protest the Trump supporters were encouraging us to Back the Blue. [They said] we should unite with them and ‘Back the Blue’ and support the police,” said Marley. “And then, when one of their members got arrested, their narrative changed, and [then] they wanted the police to quit their jobs. It doesn’t sound like they’re for anything, except for Trump and his hatred.”
“They made ridiculously wild accusations that all of the counter-protesters were jobless, all of us were freeloaders, all of us were not worthy of being part of society,” said Marley. “They’re the ones that are holding all of this anger.”