With heavily armed riot police looking on from behind barricades, dozens of anti-fascist demonstrators held signs and chanted Saturday as neo-Nazis held a rally in the small town of Newnan, Ga., leading to about 10 arrests but no injuries.
Several dozen neo-Nazis wearing black and carrying flags and shields gathered for the rally, which was led by the National Socialist Movement, in Greenville Street Park, about 38 miles southwest of Atlanta. They were greeted by loud boos and a park covered by messages of peace and love written in chalk.
It appeared to be the largest face-off between the groups since clashes in Charlottesville, Va., last year that left one person dead.
Speakers, who talked about white power and taking the country back from illegal immigrants, stood on a brick stage covered by a large, chalk-drawn rainbow. “Newnan strong” was written below.
Members of Antifa, the loose-knit anti-fascist movement, gathered along the sidewalks on streets leading to the park, many holding up signs. Large barricades and a row of officers wearing riot gear formed a human shield to prevent the groups from clashing, but it didn’t keep the anti-protesters from penetrating the rally with loud, disruptive chants of “Go home!”
At the outset of the gathering, police said they arrested about 10 anti-fascist demonstrators, some reportedly for for wearing masks. About 700 law enforcement officers were on hand to help keep the rally peaceful.
City workers had blocked off several key streets with barriers and surrounded the park with barricades topped with chain-link fencing.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Doug Stanglin and Christal Hayes