For members of White Revolution, the neo-Nazi coalition that split off last year from the powerful National Alliance, the symbolism was almost too good to be true.
Billy Roper, White Revolution's energetic founder, was planning an anti-immigration rally at the Alamo, where Texas volunteers fought to the death in 1836 against Mexican troops that had them outnumbered and surrounded. What better place to rail against the Mexican "mud people" supposedly conducting an "invasion" of the U.S.? What better place to jump-start the fighting spirit of American neo-Nazis, beaten down by months of arrests, deaths and infighting?
Roper's rally didn't quite work out as planned. Though a handful of white nationalists from several states did turn up in San Antonio on the sparkling Sunday morning of March 23, they were easily outnumbered by approximately 60 law enforcement officers, some in riot gear, who surrounded Alamo Plaza and kept potential spectators away.
Two sets of police barricades — and a prohibition on megaphones and microphones — prevented White Revolution's anti-immigrant message from being preached to anyone beyond the choir.
Roper had a permit for a four-hour demonstration, but the protest fizzled after just an hour and a half. The white nationalists left the Alamo the same way they arrived, under tight police protection on a bus provided by the local sheriff's department.
If the protest was less than a smash, White Revolution did manage to stir up folks in San Antonio — in particular, officials of the Miss Teen USA pageant, which was held the day after the rally. Roper managed to buttonhole Nicole Cuppy, Miss South Dakota Teen, on her way back from lunch to pageant practice, getting a photo taken of himself standing next to the beaming 16-year-old.
After Roper posted the photo on his Web site with the caption, "White Revolution Supporter," pageant officials threatened legal action, saying the contestant had no clue who Roper or his group were and certainly didn't support racism. The photo was subsequently yanked, but it popped up again in White Revolution's March newsletter, with yet another false caption: "Miss South Dakota Teen endorses White Revolution just prior to the Miss USA pageant."