I didn't know things had turned violent until I was almost bowled over into the street in front of oncoming traffic. I looked down to see Rick Biesada, head of The Chicago Minuteman Project, lying at my feet, blood trickling down his forehead.
I quickly helped him up and made sure he was alright, then we both turned around to see a small crowd push another Minuteman to the ground and start pummeling him. He forced his way up as a few people intervened, and got away from the crowd.
The problem was that there were two factions present at Bank Calumet in Munster, Indiana. IFIRE, along with CMP, their friends in the anti-ILLEGAL-immigration battle, regularly protests this bank for offering mortgages to ILLEGAL aliens.
Today we had counter-protesters, and the cops at first did nothing to keep us apart. When Jake and I showed up, we had to push our way through screaming socialists (more on that in a moment) to join our protest. Anywhere else we've ever protested with people holding an opposing point of view, the cops have instructed each group to take a certain spot to avoid this sort of thing.
The IFIRE/CMP folks stood together on the sidewalk, and the counter-protesters formed a line, surrounding us, and walked in a circle, jeering, chanting, and shouting slurs like "racist" and "Nazi" in our faces as they jostled by us.
Then the altercation went down. The cops were around the corner, and took a couple of minutes to get through the crowd...
They tried to calm everyone down, and figure out what had happened.
Rick and Joe explained that someone had grabbed Rick's sign and tore it up, then he was hit. Joe jumped in to try and help him, and he was then attacked by the group.
The police called an ambulance for Rick, who took a solid hit to the head. Joe had a good size lump on his head, as well. Fortunately, neither of them needed to be taken to the hospital for medical care.
By this time, some reinforcement had shown up from the police department, and they separated the opposing sides into two groups. The IFIRE/CMP folks continued to wave their flags and hold up signs decrying mortgages for ILLEGAL aliens, against amnesty, and for border security. We cheered and hooted at plenty of people who responded to my "HONK to Deport ILLEGAL ALIENS" sign as they drove by.
Our opposition continued to wave signs like "Minutemen are Nazis," "No IFIRE," and "No HR 4437," referring to the bill that passed the House in December that provides for building a fence on the border, stiffer penalties for companies that hire ILLEGAL aliens (although not stiff enough for my liking), and making ILLEGAL entry a felony rather than a civil offense.
They also chanted about how the workers united cannot be defeated, Minutemen go to hell, and racism/IFIRE is illegal, and passed out this socialist flyer:
I've affectionately named this pile of crap "Stupid Lies and the Stupid Lying Socialists Who Write Them." Methinks someone failed Propaganda 101.