Rally Erupts: Hundreds Confront Pastor Terry Jones
DEARBORN (WWJ) – He’s back. Controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones returned to Dearborn to carry out his planned protest of “radical Islam.” But this week, Jones and his supporters were met by hundreds of counter protesters.
Reporting from the scene, WWJ Newsradio 950′s Stephanie Davis said there were some tense moments following Jones’ speech in front of Dearborn City Hall.
”We will not allow sharia,” said Jones, clad in jeans and a faded leather jacket.
Following his comments to about 100 supporters, Jones walked down the steps to the street and toward the police barricade that separated him from the counter protesters.
Davis reported that the angry crowd broke through the barrier, and were confronted by police in riot gear.
“Riot police are standing in front of Dearborn City Hall, kind of protecting the Terry Jones supporters from this very large crowd — it looks to be maybe four or five hundred people. As they approached the barricade, people stared throwing their shoes at Terry Jones’ supporters, and also throwing bottles,” Davis said.
It didn’t appear as though anyone was seriously injured. At least two people were arrested.
According to Jones, the agitated protesters made it tough to get his message out.
“I actually wanted to close off with prayer and simply the Pledge of Allegiance, but that seemed to to be pretty difficult to do. So, when I saw that was definitely not going to work, then we came back up (the steps) and tried to do it there,” he said.
Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Rielly said Jones was told not to approach the crowd.
“He was not supposed to come down to the fence-line. He was told and asked not to and he refused to comply, because he’s an antagonist,” O’Rielly said.
“I mean, his goal was to start trouble. And, it’s unfortunate, but, you know, free speech has a funny line… But I know what he wanted to do was cause trouble,” the Mayor said.
Friday’s events came one week after a court order shut down Jones’ planned protest at a Dearborn mosque.
Jones said it’s his right that he be allowed to protest what he calls “radical element in Islam.”
“I do want to continue to raise awareness of the radical element of Islam, not the moderate, not their rights. But at the same time, we are quite pleased that this has become a First Amendment issue because the First Amendment is what makes us who we are,” Jones said.
Jones was jailed briefly last week after refusing to pay a court-ordered peace bond. He’s probably best-known for his assistant’s burning of the Koran, the Muslim holy book.
Governor Rick Snyder has said that, while he supports the First Amendment, he hopes Jones ”spends as little time in Michigan as possible.”
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