White supremacists plan rally as Georgia town gears up
The neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) may have agreed not to return to Charlottesville, Virginia, with weapons, but that’s certainly not stopping its members from planning a string of racist rallies elsewhere, including one on April 21 in Newnan, Georgia.
The NSM chose to hold their rally at Greenville Street Park in Newnan due to the presence of several Confederate monuments in the city. Residents of that town have expressed concern about the possibility of violent clashes between the NSM and anti-fascist groups.
Newnan Police Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows held a public meeting earlier this week during which he encouraged citizens to stay home on April 21, stating “They want an audience. We don’t want to give them that.” Meadows also announced his police department was receiving assistance from 24 other law enforcement agencies and planned to have at least 400 extra officers present to keep the peace.
The Georgia rally comes on the heels of the Detroit-based NSM and its leader, Jeff Schoep, signing a consent decree, agreeing not to return to Charlottesville as part of a group while armed with firearms, weapons, shields or other items which can inflict bodily harm.
An attorney representing the NSM said the group is unlikely to return to Charlottesville for an August 12, 2018 gathering, the status of which remains unclear. Racist “alt-right” leader Jason Kessler applied for a permit to hold the 2018 rally at the city’s Emancipation Park last November but it was denied by Charlottesville officials, citing public safety concerns (permits submitted by individuals opposed to the white supremacists were also denied for the same reason). In response, Kessler filed a lawsuit against the city which has not yet been adjudicated.
August 12, 2018 is the one-year anniversary of the disastrous events surrounding the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally, during which Heather Heyer, an anti-racist protester, was struck and killed by a car driven by James Alex Fields, Jr. (Fields has been charged with murder). Two Virginia State Police troopers monitoring the rally also died when their helicopter crashed and burst into flames.
By signing the consent decree last Friday, the NSM extracts itself from a lawsuit filed last October by the city of Charlottesville, local businesses and neighborhood associations contending the heavily armed, camo-clad militia groups and their white supremacist allies endangered public safety. The neo-Confederate group League of the South reached a similar agreement with Charlottesville last March.