Royal Oak protest planned after 'build a wall' viral video

ROYAL OAK, MICH. - A protest in Royal Oak against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is planned for this evening, two days after a viral video posted to Facebook showed middle-school students chanting "Build the wall."

The "Stop Trump Royal Oak" demonstration is planned to begin at 5 p.m. at Oakland Community College, continuing with a 6 p.m. march through Royal Oak before protesters are to join with others in Detroit, according to event details posted on Facebook. More than 120 said they were planning to attend.

Related: Birmingham superintendent responds to viral 'build the wall' video

"Be prepared to stay peaceful in the face of hostility. Try and get along with the police, we might need their help," Facebook event host username Joseph Alexander Fournier posted on the page.

Tensions have risen across the country since Tuesday's election, as a rise in racist acts and protests have resulted from Trump's victory. The chanting video, recorded at Royal Oak Middle School during 7th-grade lunch, was posted Wednesday by Facebook username Dee Scott-Perez and went viral with 8.6 million views by 11:35 a.m. Nov. 11.

The phrase "Build the wall" became a signature chant at Trump's rallies across the nation during the campaign after he said he planned to build a wall separating the U.S. and Mexico, intending to block illegal immigration.

The Facebook event description for this evening's protest describes it as a rally "to protest fascism, bigotry, and Trump's dangerous policy proposals," according to the page. It doesn't mention the school incident, and Fournier didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Royal Oak Police Lt. Keith Spencer said the department is aware of the protest plans.

"We monitor the situation," he said. "We always do -- make sure that the protest remains peaceful, and that they're allowed their right to protest."

School district Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin released a statement Thursday to parents and the community, saying "small group of students engaged in a brief" chant and school personnel in the cafeteria responded. Thousands of comments were posted on the video, some demanding action from the district.

It's not exactly clear how the staff responded. One adult can be seen briefly standing in the video while the children chanted. Lewis-Lakin could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday or Friday.

"We addressed this incident when it occurred," he said in the statement. "We are addressing it today. We are working with our students to help them understand the impact of their words and actions on others in their school community. Our school district and each building in it works every day to be a welcoming community for all, inclusive and caring, where all students know they are valued, safe and supported."

The Royal Oak protest is planned to end with participants "joining forces" with BAMN (the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary), according to the event posting.

A Facebook event called "WSU Rally & March To Shut Down Trump's Racist Vision For America" is associated with BAMN and planned to begin at 5 p.m. in front of the undergraduate library at Wayne State University.

Detroit Free Press


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