Neo-Nazi rally, counter-protests peaceful in Wisconsin

Reuters News
|
Posted: Sep 03, 2011 9:28 PM

By Brendan O'Brien

WEST ALLIS, Wis (Reuters) - Members of a neo-Nazi group and counter protesters peacefully rallied within yards of each other here on Saturday.

According to local police, five arrests were made and no one was injured as members of the National Socialist Movement organization and a local coalition of community groups rallied in the afternoon at the West Allis City Hall.

"Make your people proud and stand up for your race," said Jeff Schoep, the leader of the group, to two dozen supporters.

The neo-Nazi group had planned its rally as a response to

fights between two groups of African-American youths at the Wisconsin State Fair on August 4 which police said degenerated into racially charged violence outside the fair. Seven police officers were injured and two dozen arrests recorded.

On Saturday, an estimated 130 police officers from half a dozen local law enforcement agencies wore riot gear to control the crowd of more than a thousand people, who held signs calling for racial harmony.

"Everyone should love each other and respect each other," said Raymond Dorow, 26, who had a tattoo of Martin Luther King on his right bicep.

Police erected barricades and fences to separate the groups, who shouted profanities at each other as the neo-Nazi group held its rally, which had been preceded by one from the counter-protesters.

Several neo-Nazi group members waved flags embroidered with swastika symbols.

"White power to you all," Schoep said as rain fell, drenching the crowd.

The afternoon turned somewhat tense after the two rallies as neo-Nazi supporters and protesters came face-to-face in the street next to city hall, but there were no physical altercations.

(Editing by David Bailey and Jerry Norton)