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Crowd storms barricades in protest against Florida pastor

A rally by Florida Pastor Terry Jones erupted briefly in Dearborn, as a crowd of counter-protestors rushed barricades, prompting riot police to force them back.

The confrontation broke out when Jones – who was delivering a speech condemning radical Islam – left the steps of city hall and approached the sidewalk. That provoked several people in the crowd of counter-demonstrators from the opposite side of the street to rush across Michigan Avenue. They spit, and hurled soda bottles and shoes at Jones.

Riot police were able to force the crowd back across the street. After the speech, Jones said he was hoping to recite a prayer and the pledge of allegiance with his opponents.

"We would have liked it if they had paid a little more attention, not yelled so much. But we were happy with it."

Jones is promising to return to protest in front of a Dearborn mosque. He’s appealing a court order that barred him from the mosque for three years.

Dearborn’s Mayor Jack O'Reilly praised police and community leaders for keeping a lid on a situation that could have spun out of control:

"He was not supposed to come down to the fence line. He was told and asked not to, and he refused to comply. He’s an antagonist. His goal is to start trouble. And he didn’t succeed, and I’m glad about that."

Jones was all but drowned out by a crowd across the street that far outnumbered the 50 or so supporters who joined him in front of city hall. In his remarks, he said America is headed in a dangerous direction, and he warned against what he calls a "secret agenda of Sharia law."

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Public's Director of Amplify & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.
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