Members of the Neo-Nazi hate group, National Socialist Movement, demonstrated in Newnan, Ga .over the weekend. The group had obtained a permit to host a rally in Newnan about a month ago, supposedly to discuss “hot button” issues. An estimated few dozen Neo-Nazis filled the streets, dressed in black and carrying shields and NSM flags.
Members of loose-knit anti-fascist groups, joined by Newnan citizens, also showed up to demonstrate against the white supremacist group’s messages of hate and xenophobia.
About 700 law enforcement officers were dispatched, wielding batons and shields and wearing riot gear. You would think the police were there to monitor the Neo-Nazis, but surprisingly it was counter-protesters who got most of their attention.
According to the USA Today, police said they arrested about 10 anti-fascist demonstrators at the beginning of the protest, reportedly for “wearing masks.” The police, decked out in militarized riot gear, also pointed guns in the faces of unarmed protesters.
But they weren’t just arresting the protesters. The police tackled protesters to the ground, holding them with their faces against the pavement. Christopher Mathias, a reporter for HuffPost, caught a video of police attacking counter-protesters before police linked arms and moved their vans to obstruct the views of witnesses and the press.
At the end of the protest, Newnan Police Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows issued a statement saying that the protest remained nonviolent and that only about 10 arrests were made total. This means that the only arrests made were of anti-fascist counter-protesters. And again, not only were they arrested, they were threatened and brutalized.
After all of that GBI Director Vernon Keenan, who was present for the protests, said a key concern is the large number of counter-protesters. The head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was at a Neo-Nazi rally and his concern was not the Nazis, but the counter-protesters.
So apparently this is life now under the Trump administration: the police are paid for by the public to protect Neo-Nazis from anti-fascist counter-protesters.