Anti-Islamic law, Muslim demonstrators gather in Waterbury

WATERBURY --  It was a hot start Saturday morning with a 5K race beating through downtown while a heated discussion was taking place.

"I love Waterbury with all my heart," said former Waterbury resident, Anne Marie Nicholls.

Anne Marie has lived in Waterbury for nine years. She brought her 11-year-old daughter with her to let those who follow Sharia Law know that they are welcome in Connecticut, especially during this holy time of Ramadan. "I love my Muslim neighbors and friends," said Nicholls.

Sharia Law is a set of legal standards derived from the Quran and Waterbury is home to four mosques. Alongside the demonstration Saturday was another one right across the lawn. Bristol resident, Rich Guzda said "I'm a patriotic American."

Many standing from the organization Act for America, a group that opposes Sharia Law.

"I'm against Sharia Law. I don't want it here. I don't want it in the state. I don't want it in the country," said Marian.

But those on the other side like Ann Marie said the group isn’t against Sharia Law, it's against Muslims.

"They claim to be anti this small portion of the Muslim population supposedly but they are a anti Muslim group," said Marie. "They've been identified as a hate group by the southern poverty law center."

"Everybody is welcomed here. You're welcomed to have your own religion but there's a set of laws here everybody has to assimilate to the American laws its as simple as that," added Marian.

Participants waved their American flags and held up their signs. 

Jacqueline Jackson, Muslim Community Organizer in Waterbury said ​"Our purpose here today is to be peaceful and to learn something and walk away with some sort of an action that they can do in their own personal lives to ensure peace and equality for all people."

There was a heavy Waterbury police force although both sides agreed to keep today peaceful.

"When we disagree with somebody else's free speech we get to answer with free speech," said Marie.