Protesters campaigning against Sharia Law were met with a number of counter-demonstrations on Saturday, as anti-Sharia rallies took place in 28 cities across America.
The rallies, which were organized by the national security organization ACT! for America, attracted strong support in cities such as Phoenix, Chicago, Austin, Atlanta, New York, Boston, and Seattle.
Sharia is the law of Islam, which governs how Muslims pray, eat, establish families, and all aspects of a Muslim’s life. The rules of sharia come from Quranic commandments and the hadiths, a collection of sayings of Muhammad. Sharia significantly restricts the freedom of women and allows for extreme punishments for violations such as adultery, blasphemy, and apostasy. Sharia is the basis of laws in Islamic countries, both Sunni and Shia.
A press release from the ACT! for America website reads:
This is a march against Sharia law and for human rights. Our nation is built on the freedom of religion – a pillar of our democracy – which we must always respect, protect, and honor. However many aspects of Sharia law run contrary to basic human rights and are completely incompatible with our laws and our democratic values.
However, many marches were disrupted by counter-demonstrators, who accused participants of “Islamaphobia” and stoking hatred against Muslims.
— Dan Renzetti (@DanRenzetti) June 10, 2017
In Seattle, protesters could be heard singing: “No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here,” as footage showed the two groups involved in a physical altercation.
ANTIFA JUST BEATDOWN A TRUMP SUPPORTER. HUGE WILD BRAWL. BATTLE IN SEATTLE!!!! pic.twitter.com/X4NHVlSeJe
— Mike Bivins (@itsmikebivins) June 10, 2017
In New York, protesters attempted to drown out the chanting of the anti-Sharia march by sounding air horns and banging pots and pans. Video footage from the event showed protesters launch urine towards Canadian conservative journalist Lauren Southern.
— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) June 10, 2017
“Out of nowhere liquid was splashed onto my face from one of the masked individuals in the crowd. It got all in my eyes and over my face and totally reeked. The first two seconds were a little horrifying because I wasn’t sure if it was an acid attack,” Southern told Breitbart News.
Several people were arrested after fights broke out at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, although nobody was injured, according to local reports.
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) June 10, 2017
According to Reuters, there was a heavy police presence at the Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg, as barricades and police mounted on horses separated two groups of approximately 60 protesters. Counter-protesters were reportedly “dressed in black masks and hoods” and could be heard chanting, “No Trump, no KKK, no Fascist USA.'”
On Friday, 129 national and local organizations signed a letter urging city mayors to condemn the marches, emphasizing the fact they take place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
This article has been edited since publication.