Fight Breaks Out at Michigan Anti-Lockdown Protest Over Man With Ax, Doll in Hangman's Noose

As hundreds of protesters gathered at the Michigan Capitol on Thursday morning, a fight broke out when one of the demonstrators pulled out an American flag that had an unclothed, brown-haired doll hanging from a noose at the bottom.

Other protesters began objecting to the doll display, calling it a "hate crime," which has been rumored to depict Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. After what the Michigan State Police described on Twitter as "an incident between two demonstrators, in which one demonstrator tried to take a sign out of another demonstrator's hand," the man was taken into the capitol building.

In a video, two protesters can be seen wrestling over the flag as organizers can be heard calling on police to assist in the altercation. After one demonstrator grabs the flag, the man can be seen fleeing after being surrounded by other protesters and police on the lawn.

The state police reported that there were no injuries and no arrests were made.

The man who had the noose display was also carrying a sign and an ax, the latter of which he turned over law enforcement officials.

In another video following the altercation, an unidentified woman who claims to be the one who took the flag from the man can be heard saying, "I took his flag away because it's not what it stands for."

She later took the stage to defend her actions. "Hate crimes are not tolerated in Michigan, end of story," she said.

This was the third planned demonstration protesting Whitmer's stay-at-home order. Protests held earlier last month were criticized by the governor herself for the display of Nazi symbols and Confederate flags.

In an earlier appearance on CNN's State of the Union, she said of those protests, "what happened at our capitol depicted some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history in this country."

Michigan protestors May 14
Demonstrators at the Michigan State Capitol protest Governor Whitmer's stay-at-home order on May 14. A fight broke out when one demonstrator pulled out an American flag that had an unclothed, brown-haired doll hanging from a noose at the bottom. Jeff Kowalsky/AFP

Since the coronavirus lockdown, Whitmer has been the target of several online threats.

When asked if she was fearful for her personal safety, Whitmer told ABC's The View that, "I would be not truthful if I said it didn't bother me. It certainly does." She went on to call the rallies "racist and misogynistic" and "not appropriate in a global pandemic."

Last week, Whitmer extended the state's stay-at-home order to May 28. She emphasized the importance of the lockdown to prevent spread of COVID-19. She said, "we must all continue to stay home and stay safe as much as possible. If we all keep doing our part, we can reduce the risk of a second wave and re-engage our economy safely and responsibly."

As of May 14, Michigan has 48,307 reported cases of the virus and 4,714 deaths.