Snyder calls for unity amid anti-Trump protests

Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder called Friday for order and civility in Michigan after thousands of disaffected Michigan protesters vented their anger over the election of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“We need to come together to celebrate the democracy that so many have fought and died for to defend and promote,” Snyder said in a statement. “I have said that Michigan will be the model in showing Washington, D.C., how to come together, work together and move forward together. That must be more than just about policies.

Two protests against President-elect Trump were planned Friday night in Detroit and Royal Oak while another was planned in Grand Rapids for which about 1,600 people said they were interested in participating, according to a Facebook event page.

On Thursday, about 2,000 Trump protesters rallied in Grand Rapids while an estimated 1,000 demonstrators stormed Thursday night the Michigan State University campus. Many barricaded themselves in the university’s administration building as police barred the doors, preventing more people from entering the building.

Some protesters and critics have likened Trump and his supporters to fascists, racists and Nazis after a Ku Klux Klan publication last week endorsed the New York businessman, something his campaign quickly condemned.

“Mr. Trump and the campaign denounces hate in any form,” the campaign said in said in a statement. “This publication is repulsive and their views do not represent the tens of millions of Americans who are uniting behind our campaign.”

Anti-Trump protests also have erupted across the nation because of the president-elect’s proposals to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from entering the country.

“Donald Trump has used the presidential election in the United States to build a movement modeled on the semi-fascist ultra-right wing immigrant bashing parties of Europe, like the Le Pen National Front, and the historical experience of the rise to power of Mussolini’s fascists and Hitler’s Nazis,” protest organizers said on the Detroit rally page.

Snyder urged Michigan residents to “show Washington, the nation and the world how Michiganders can be civil, forthright and just in promoting the ideals on which this country was founded.”

The Republican governor, who did not endorse any candidate in the presidential election, encouraged residents not only to tolerate differing ideas and opinions, “but embrace them.”

mgerstein@detroitnews.com