Saturday, April 17, 2010

Anti-Immigration reform rally in downtown LA sparks clashes, arrests

Detailed top of City HallImage via Wikipedia

White Supremacist Group rallying against illegal immigration clashes with counter-protesters in downtown Los Angeles
In downtown Los Angeles Saturday  hundreds of counter-protesters gathered to shout  down a white supremacist group which was rallying against illegal immigration,  and resulted in a chaos which led to police in riot gear making several arrests.  It was reported that rocks were also thrown in the clashes.  
On the south lawn of Los Angeles' City Hall, where some 50 members of the National Socialist Movement waved American flags and swastika banners for about an hour,  police had to stand between the group and the counter-group which shouted protests.



The white supremacists, many of them wearing flack helmets and black military fatigue uniforms, shouted "Sieg Heil" before each of their speakers took the podium to taunt counter-protesters with racial, anti-Semitic and misogynistic epithets.
"We will meet you head on," one of the white supremacists, whose name could not be made out over the fuzzy public address system, warned the crowd from behind several phalanxes of police in riot gear.
Fearing Obama and Amnesty 
This sort of incident may be viewed by some as in keeping with the reports -  by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Department of Homeland Security  -  of the rise of right wing extremist groups and protests which may spark acts of domestic terrorism.   Indeed, the FBI has been on heightened alert for such incidents or catalysts for them in recent months. 
Some right wing groups have a considerable fear of Obama's alleged plans for immigration reform. 
The Supremacist group is reported to be  Detroit-based,  and picked downtown LA  for their rally because of its notorious and expansive immigrant population. Accusations of jobs theft and illegal activities were aimed at the immigrants.   The National Socialist movement also said they are alarmed at the call for amnesty for illegal immigrants,  which they see as increasing under the Obama administration.  
Regional director Jeffrey Russell Hall announced that the group plans to back only those political candidates who agree with their anti-immigrant ideology.  

But much of the white supremacists' words were drowned out by such chants as "Hey hey, ho ho, Nazi scum have got to go" from the larger crowd of about 500 counter-protesters who held signs that read "Nazis: Get Out of Los Angeles" and "Racists Are Ignorant."
National Lawyers Guild executive director James Lafferty attended both as a legal observer and counter-protester, and reported to the Associated Press that  he witnessed members of the throng begin to fight a man when they saw his Nazi tattoos.  Some NSP members attempted to jump-start a stalled vehicle, and had to shield themselves as counter-demonstrators hurled rocks and debris toward them. One shirtless man was reported to be bleeding as he was led away. 
Police say it items were hurled at the NSP members by the counter-protesters.  


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