If American white supremacists plan a rally and almost no one turns out, does it still count? That’s the question facing America’s neo-Nazis and neo-fascists this weekend.

Yesterday’s rally in the small town of Newnan, Georgia, was supposed to represent the greatest gathering of American white supremacists following last year’s event in Charlottesville, Virginia — a rally that itself drew some 1,000 supporters and resulted in the death of one counter-protester.

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Yesterday, though, saw an altogether different turnout, with counter-protesters and law enforcement both significantly outnumbering the neo-Nazis in attendance. According to Slate, some 700 law enforcement officers oversaw the rally, presenting a “massive militarized police presence” to counter the event, hosted in Greenville Street Park.

So #Newnan is a town of 38,000 and their police look like this today pic.twitter.com/zX54ATnCgH

— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) April 21, 2018

The Nazis’ sound system was cut off and they were kicked out of the park promptly at 5pm, when their permit ended #Newnan pic.twitter.com/13vNi0PLxG

— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) April 21, 2018

All told, only a few dozen neo-Nazis and white supremacists attended the rally, which was organized by the National Socialist Movement. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the NSM “anticipated between 50 and 100 people, but it appeared Saturday that only a couple of dozen of them showed up.”

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The rally, unlike last year’s events in Charlottesville, was largely peaceful, with no injuries reported. Newnan Police Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows told USA Today that he was “very relieved” and “so proud of the community.” The rally ended, as Slate reported, as “much ado about nothing.”

Still, as Huffington Post reporter Christopher Mathias found, the rally wasn’t without its moments of tensions — especially when it came to the police presence at the event. As Mathias witnessed, at least one officer “pointed what seemed to be a modified AR-15 at the faces of counterprotesters, none of whom appeared to be armed.” Police also arrested 10 counter-protesters.

A cop points a gun at a protester #Newnan pic.twitter.com/wsQuy6LqVx

— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) April 21, 2018

As it is, the rally appears the latest setback in a litany of post-Charlottesville stumbles for the American far-right. The movement’s leadership, from Richard Spencer to Matthew Heimbach, appears on its heels, facing declining interest and potential jail time. Given the paltry numbers seen yesterday, the movement as a whole appears, if not in tatters, then at least facing a crisis of relevancy.

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Still, it would be foolish to say that the low turnout portends the end of the movement as a whole. For instance, the #Newnan hashtag this weekend has been the second-most-popular trending hashtag on ThinkProgress’ Extreme Right Dashboard.

The turnout may not have been there, but there still appears at least some interest in the rally’s impact — and what may come next for America’s white supremacists.

Source Link:
https://thinkprogress.org/newnan-is-latest-disappointment-for-american-white-supremacists-14e43b220ee6/

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