June is Pride Month, when queer Americans demonstrate to honor the history, notably the riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York that ignited the modern gay rights movement. In Detroit, a very old threat to the Pride movement reared its head today as the rainbow flag fell under the shadow of a Swastika.
“[The National Socialist Movement] NSM will be armed and counter-protesting the freaks,” wrote Burt Colucci, the self-identified “commander” of the neo-Nazi NSM, on Russian social network VK. “NSM, lets put some boots on the ground!! I don’t really give a damn about op-sec or Antifa in this situation. We go in with Swastikas blazing and if people don’t like it, tough shit…”
Videos from the event Saturday showed neo-Nazi protestors with police escort marching through downtown Detroit during the Motor City Pride festivities. NSM members from across the country reportedly traveled to Detroit to take part in this anti-Pride demonstration.
Nazis out here In Detroit, Michigan right now.
"I AM SHOOK. Please be safe out there today, my brothers and sisters."- via Kelsey Hubbell
This is OUTRAGEOUS!
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) June 8, 2019
Got this video. There are nazi’s outside of motorcity pride. My friend Abigail Nowak has opened up her house to anyone if they feel uncomfortable and want to leave. You can message her or me. Stay safe friends.
Posted by Syd Gossett on Saturday, June 8, 2019
Detroiters have opened up their homes to Pride attendees who felt unsafe due to the armed neo-Nazi presence. This is in contrast to the image of NSM’s police escort, which drew harsh criticism from Pride attendees.
One voice in a video is heard shouting; “Why are you protecting them? These are literal Nazis.”
“How come they get protected and we’re not,” shouted another. “Our police should be protecting us.”
Meanwhile, a woman with a megaphone marching under a Nazi flag called out “You are all trash.”
BREAKING NEWS: A dozen Nazis, some armed, protest outside Motor City PrideUPDATE: The protesters have left the downtown area==========Approximately a dozen anti-gay protesters, some armed and one carrying a Nazi flag, confronted those waiting to enter the Motor City Pride festival in Hart Plaza about 4 p.m. this afternoon. Dozens of police officers escorted the protesters along East Jefferson, sometimes struggling to keep counter-protesters away.The anti-gay group eventually marched a block away, where they continued to argue with counter protesters. Story developing….Out Post will keep you posted.
Posted by Out Post on Saturday, June 8, 2019
Of course, the history between the queer community and Nazis is not new. Part of the Nazi rise to power was a commitment to stamping out the “decadence” of a Germany that, at the time, was comparably tolerant of homosexuality.
This is hardly the only recent threat to queer America from right-wing extremists. Depictions of LGBT standing for “Liberty, Guns, Beer, and Trump” (instead of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) have been on the rise. And the infamous massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida during Pride is one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
— honeydip (@hannahckessler) June 8, 2019
At this time, Grit Post has not received any reports of injuries, but social media accounts claim the atmosphere is tense. There is no word if the neo-Nazi presence will return for the remainder of Motor City Pride festivities.
On Tuesday, June 11th, the Detroit Police Department issued a statement explaining their presence at the event.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.