KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Police Department expected large crowds downtown because of a controversial group scheduled to have a protest Saturday.
Barricades separated dozens of anti-fascist members from about five people who had their faces covered.
“I heard that just in case they did show, we were going to show too,” said Sonja Hitchcock.
The group Act for America scheduled a nationwide protest. They are criticized for being anti-Muslim among other things.
— Steven Dial (@StevenDialTV) September 9, 2017
Act for America canceled their nationwide protest and held a virtual rally instead. Hitchcock said she came here to say hate is not welcome in Kansas City.
“The hoods are off more than ever, I think we saw that in Charlottesville and white folks more than ever, we need to say 'that is a problem,'" said Hitchcock.
Out of an abundance of caution, the city and KCPD put several large construction trucks on the sidewalk so that no one would try to drive into the park.
At times the groups shouted at each other but things remained peaceful.
“The question is, 'What is our response? What can we do — not as a counter protest but as a faith community?'" said Pastor Michael Brooks.
Across the street from the barricades and dozens of officers were members of the clergy.
Pastor Michael Brooks said they didn’t want to be part of a counter protest but he says they want to spread love.
“We don’t need to hide behind the four walls of the church, if they are bold enough to come out we are bold enough to come out,” said Brooks.
The crowds weren’t as large as expected but KCPD says they wanted to be prepared. Brooks is thankful for them being here.
“I think they wanted to be ready if there was one and I rather them be ready and nothing happen rather than them not be prepared," Brooks said.