A group of white supremacists over the weekend tried to use the Motor City Pride Parade in Detroit as a launchpad to start another riot akin to the 2017 riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, police said on Monday.
The Detroit News reports that Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters on Monday that his officers over the weekend thwarted a plot by neo-Nazis to spark "Charlottesville No. 2" at the city's LGBTQ pride festival.
However, Craig said that his officers worked to make sure the Nazis were kept separate from people participating in the festival, thus preventing them from engaging in or provoking acts of violence.
"When [the Nazis] arrived, five of their members were armed; two with long guns and three with handguns," Craig said. "They were open-carrying. I'm told through our intelligence sources [the Nazis] wanted Charlottesville No. 2. We knew we wanted to be properly staffed, and we were."
Craig said that his officers also worked to keep left-wing counter-demonstrators away from the Nazis.
"The one group [the Nazis] was armed," Craig said. "We didn't want the opposing group to assault them and respond in a way that would be violent."
Craig also rebutted criticism that his department was "escorting" the neo-Nazis as they yelled out derogatory comments about the parade participants.
"To any critics that say we were escorting people in the National Socialist movement, we were keeping the two groups separate," Craig said. "At one point, we escorted them to keep the opposing side away."