Pro-Trump rally draws militia to Calder Plaza

Mar 4, 2017

Credit Daniel Boothe

After anti-Trump demonstrations have been a constant in recent weeks, rallies supporting President Donald Trump were scheduled throughout Michigan over the weekend including Grand Rapids. Outside Grand Rapids’ city hall in Calder Plaza, an estimated 300 people gathered Saturday afternoon in a show of support for President Donald Trump. 

Co-Organizer Audra Lemons said at the rally that the idea for the demonstration came after being fed up with Trump protests, even though she didn’t quite know what kind of response she would get.

“So we started it and it started out we were excited for 20 people coming, you know," Lemons said. "And look what we’ve got here, we’ve got a ton of people out here. And we are just here to support our President and show him he’s not alone, we are not against him like the media would like to think,” she said. 

Demonstrator Mike Kruger agreed.

“Half this country, half this country voted for him. And I say give him a chance,” Kruger said.   

While the large crowd began with the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, a number of men in Army Fatigues carrying semi-automatic rifles guarded the east entrance to Calder Plaza. But they’re not military. They’re Militia.

“My name is Commander Mike Jenkins.”

Jenkins is part of the Three Percent United Patriots and Michigan Patriot Coalition. He says they are there to protect free speech. 

“We are not pro-Trump or against Trump. We want everyone to exercise their constitutional right for free speech,” Jenkins said.

However, Edith Sierra, standing with her two-year-old outside of the plaza, said she felt more intimidated than protected.  

“My husband actually just went up to listen to what they were saying, and I am not about to bring my daughter in there, because we have to walk by those machine guns. And I’m not going to do that.” 

Just two blocks away a group of around 200 marched in opposition to the Pro-Trump rally down Monroe Avenue, however, the Militia did not join them.

Simultaneously, March 4 Trump rallies and counter protests took place in several other cities across the United States.  

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