Kiwi under fire for wearing MAGA hat to Black Lives Matter protest, 'provoking people'

In a viral video, a Kiwi has decried the behaviour of the people involved in Auckland's Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest, but has come under fire for going to the rally with "bad intentions".

African-American man George Floyd died last week in the United States after a police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin has since been charged with murder. 

His death has sparked international protests under the BLM movement over the treatment of minorities by police. In the US, there have been reports of violence by both protesters and police. Buildings have burnt down, businesses have been looted and protesters have been shot and driven at by officers.

To show solidarity with those overseas rallying for racial equality, demonstrations were organised across New Zealand on Monday, with one in Auckland seeing about 2000 people turn out. Organisers reiterated at the rally that it was "peaceful, passive and respectful", with those in attendance holding a minute silence and listening to speeches before slowly walking down Queen St. A haka was eventually performed at the US Consulate General.

Police told Newshub no one was arrested.

But one New Zealander, Ethan Aloiai, has gone viral with his view that people at the protest "were very willing to be violent". 

In a Facebook video, which has been viewed more than 102,000 times, Aloiai said he attended the protest, along with his brothers-in-law, wearing Donald Trump's Make America Great Again caps.

The caps, commonly worn by Trump's supporters, have become symbolic of the President's policies and values, which many argue are racist and sexist. Aloiai doesn't agree.

"That hat is not a sign of racism. I wasn't wearing it to incite racism. In fact, I was wearing it to represent a diverse range of ideas."

He doesn't explain what those ideas are, but said his hat was stolen and lit on fire, which was "kinda funny".

Aloiai said he hates racism. 

"I decry every form of racism, ethnic superiority, all of it. It is abominable to God and personally I have no toleration for racism," he said.

But Aloiai opposes the BLM movement.

"The Black Lives Matter movement is a racist movement. They are not concerned with justice. They are not concerned with fairness and equality. In fact, all their cries for justice are hypocrisy."

He said the movement was "infected" by cultural Marxism and they wanted "radical injustice".

"I knew that going in. I knew that they were hypocrites and what they were saying was a false profession. But I wanted to go anyway to see if I could engage with people, exchange ideas. In a society built on the values of free speech, I thought the best opposition to bad ideas was better ideas.

"Unfortunately, the Black Lives Matter advocates don't hold to those same principles. I was attacked, had my hat stolen from me, was grabbed by the collar, pushed around, I was very lucky not to get jumped."

Aloiai shared video footage from the protest appearing to show a group taking a MAGA hat, with others saying he was agitating people by wearing the hat. One woman tried to have a "conversation" with him to understand why he was there, while another tried to flick the hat off.

"I was not impressed by the anger and hatred spilling out of these people."

Aloiai said he believed Chauvin murdered Floyd and deserved the death penalty. 

"I have no soft spot for racism or for murder. I think an evil action took place against George Floyd. But the solution to that is not more evil, radical, leftist, communist policies."

The video has been commented on around 5000 times, with many wondering why Aloiai headed to the protest to "provoke people to anger as you can see happening in the clip". 

"You went there with the intention to get a rise out of those people. You should have presented yourself with compassion and love, like your Jesus would've. Your pursuit of grandstanding to further your own agenda (not Christ's) brings more shame than that of any back sliders," said one person.

"You knew the response you’d get by wearing the MAGA hat. You purposely antagonised people to get a reaction for your little video," said another.

"That hat is associated with Trump supporters. You knew that it would make a lot of people angry so stop making excuses and acting like it came from a good place."

The BLM movement began in 2013 after the acquittal of a neighbourhood watch coordinator in the shooting of African-American man Trayvon Martin.

The movement says its mission is to "eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. 

"By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives."

It has been criticised for being too confrontational and aggressive. The likes of All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter have popped up in response to the movement, which have in turn been criticised for minimising disadvantages faced by black Americans.