More than 100 Montgomery police officers stood guard on Jan. 25 as leading white supremacists from at least nine states converged here to protest the Center and its co-founder Morris Dees.
Riot-gear-clad officers flanked about 75 men, women and children as they milled about for more than an hour on Washington Avenue between the Center's office and the Civil Rights Memorial, their various leaders taking turns spouting hateful rhetoric. They shouted "White Power!" and brandished neo-Nazi flags and placards. One young girl held a sign urging, "Save the white race!"
Center Intelligence Project staff observed leading white supremacists from Idaho, Arkansas, Ohio, Louisiana, New Jersey, Texas, South Carolina, Florida and Alabama at the rally.
Among them was Richard Butler, the aging leader of the notorious neo-Nazi Aryan Nations. He lost his 20-acre Idaho compound, for decades the home of some of the nation's most violent white supremacists, when Center attorneys successfully sued him after Aryan Nations security guards assaulted a mother and her son as they drove along a nearby road.
"We put out the message of our race," Butler said. "We have had some hard times, but we will have victory."
Some other groups represented at the demonstration were the American White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the World Church of the Creator, the Church of the Sons of YHVH and the Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
"We're all standing together because we're all white nationalists," said Billy Roper, head of White Revolution, a new organization that seeks to act as an umbrella group for disparate factions of white supremacists groups. Roper's organization has staged events around the country in recent months in an effort to organize other groups, and he planned the protest at the Center.
Dozens of other police were stationed throughout the downtown blocks surrounding the Center's office. Montgomery police chief John Wilson said he had assigned a total of about 250 officers to the protest to ensure there was no trouble, and there was none.
The Center's security staff, working with the Intelligence Project, carefully monitored the hate-mongers with its cameras and gathered valuable intelligence for the Center's files. Police expressed gratitude to the Center for the help it provided in advance of the gathering.