DAILYKENN.com -- An obscure law intended to intimate members of the Ku Klux Klan was utilized to arrest antifa-style protesters at a rally in Georgia.
The Nationalist Socialist Movement (NSM) apparently announced the rally to draw out counter demonstrators, then didn't show up themselves.
The rope-a-dope scheme worked as members of the Nationalist Socialist Movement watched from afar as counter protesters were handcuffed and manhandled by police.
With the street swept clean of mask-wearing thugs, the NSM commenced its rally.
Authorities learned from an event in Charlottesville, Virginia last summer that failing to contain counter demonstrators could be deadly. Consequently, an estimated 700 police officers were on the scene in Newnan, Georgia to maintain order.
National Socialists have learned to leverage national media coverage and bait hundreds of counter protesters with only one or two dozen people.
From Denver Post ▼
The neo-Nazis were running late, so the counterprotesters began without them, lining the streets of Newnan, Georgia, on Saturday afternoon.
The target of their counterprotest was the National Socialist Movement, the neo-Nazis who had planned a public rally. But things quickly went awry for the counterprotesters who were wearing masks or bandannas that concealed their faces – a problem in the eyes of some police officers. Around 2:30 p.m., police began to point their guns at a crowd of ... protesters gathered on a sidewalk.
“State law requires you to remove your masks right now,” one SWAT officer told the crowd, according to video footage from the scene. “You will do it right now or you will be arrested.”
Within minutes, several counterprotesters were in handcuffs. Video footage from the scene showed SWAT officers pulling some counterprotesters off the curb and throwing them to the ground. One man wearing a bandanna over his face was arrested as counterprotesters chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot!” The officers continued to yell, “Remove your masks!”
More than 700 officers had swarmed the town due to the rally, many of them in full riot gear carrying military-style weapons.
As it turns out, the state law police cited before arresting those protesting racism in masks has a rather ironic origin: It was passed in Georgia in 1951 to combat those promoting racism in hoods.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, throughout the latter half of the 20th century, police enforced the Anti-Mask Act against members of the white-hooded Ku Klux Klan in effort to quell their public gatherings. In more recent years, however, it has been used against masked counterprotesters at white supremacist rallies.
Jeremy Ortega, a 19-year-old charged with a misdemeanor for wearing a mask, told the Journal-Constitution that people were trying to hide their identities to avoid being targeted by the white power groups. He is among at least 10 counterprotesters arrested Saturday, though not all were arrested for wearing masks. Some were arrested for obstructing a roadway, the Journal-Constitution reported.
The neo-Nazis marched into town wearing all black, bearing flags and yelling “white power,” the Newnan Times-Herald reported. There were no arrests.
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