On Saturday 21, Neo-Nazis held a rally in Newnan, Georgia, dozens of anti-fascist demonstrators held signs and chanted, and the heavily armed riot police looked from behind barricades. The neo-Nazis wore black, and carried flags and shields which were gathered for the event. The protests were led by the National Socialist Movement, in Greenville Street Park.
The neo-Nazis were received with loud boos and a park covered by messages written in chalk, offering phrases of peace and love. However, another chalk draw had a different kind of message. It portrayed a rainbow with the slogan “Newnan strong” written below, and was placed on a brick stage – in which the neo-Nazis talked about white power and taking the country back from illegal immigrants.
This was one of the most massive confrontations between the anti-fascist and the neo-Nazi groups since the clashes that happened last year in Charlottesville, in which a person died. Luckily, this time no one got hurt.
Riots of a not-so-modern world
Members of the anti-fascist movement, Antifa, gathered along the sidewalks on the streets that led up to the park. Some of them held up signs.
Officers wearing riot gear formed a human shield to prevent the groups from clashing – thus, making barricades. Still, it was not enough to keep the anti-protesters from filtering into the rally with disruptive chants that claimed: “Go Home!”
About ten anti-fascist demonstrators were arrested, according to the police, and some of them were detained for, reportedly, wearing masks. Up to 700 enforcement officers were available to help keep the neo-Nazi rally peaceful. Principal streets were blocked, and city workers surrounded the park with barricades that had chain-link fencing at the top.
Police Officer Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows claimed that the event had been planned for up to 6 weeks, and that he was very relieved to see that it did not conclude in any violence and no property damage as well.
“I’m so proud of the community. Without the planning and support of local, regional and federal partners, the event could have spiraled out of control,” stated the Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows.
Ignorance is bliss
Christopher Mathias, a reporter for Huffington Post, was at the outset of the protest. He tweeted a video showing how the police in riot gear were tackling and arresting several protesters just for wearing masks.
The protesters were placed facing down in the street, and the police moved members of the media away from the area and blocked any possible view with vans.
Additionally, footage and pictures of the confrontation showed how the officers were pointing their guns at the protester. When the chief “Buster” Meadows was asked about the complaints made on excessive force by authorities, he said that he was unaware of the circumstances in which the protesters had been arrested.
Source: USA Today