Dressed in black battle dress, helmet, and wielding a bullhorn featuring a smiley face with a Hitler mustache, Mesa neo-Nazi J.T. Ready helped lead a group of about 20 National Socialist Movement members in a rally held in Riverside, California on Saturday.
Local press estimated that the 20 sieg heil-ing demonstrators faced off with some 600 counter-protesters, including Brown Berets, anarchists and, generally, a lot of ticked off Californians. Despite the fact that the Riverside police were out in force, there was a throw-down between the two sides when the Brown Berets and the neo-Nazis went at it at one point, trading blows. That is, until the cops separated them.
This demo was a follow-up to a Riverside NSM rally last month, where some eight to a dozen swastika-lickers protested a location where day-laborers congregate. (Saturday's Nazi bash was in the same place, but across the street, observers tell me.) That September demo ended badly for the NSM, with its supporters being run off by a massive coalition of activists. This time, the white supremacists held their ground, but only because of the efforts of an army of local gendarmes.
According to Riverside's Press-Enterprise, which has the most detailed coverage of the day's events, two counter-demonstrators were taken into custody. No neo-Nazis were collared, alas. Press-Enterprise has a photo gallery of the fight on its site.
Both ABC 7 and CBS 2 also have reports, including footage of the scuffle. Some of the best footage of the days' events, however, comes from YouTube auteur Naui Ocelotl Huitzilopochtli, whose obsession is dogging minutemen and other racists. So far, Naui's posted several videos of the Nazis and the counter-protesters. From Naui's site, you get a real idea of how large the counter-demonstration was, as well as the size of the police response.
Thus, Riverside issues a challenge to anti-racists in Phoenix planning for the big NSM anti-immigration rally at the Capitol November 7. I can't imagine Phoenix ever producing such a huge counter action.
Remember, the Nazis were in Riverside. It's not like they were demonstrating at the capital of California in Sacramento. Still, they were met by the opposition en masse.
Perhaps the most interesting of Naui's videos includes a middle-aged Hispanic lady speaking in Spanish. Naui labels her a vendida coconut, vendida meaning "sellout," the "coconut" for brown on the outside, white on the inside. She basically sided with the Nazis, saying that illegal immigrants have no respect for the border, no respect for the community. Weird lady, and definitely in the minority.
As for J.T., can anyone now doubt that he is a rising star of the neo-Nazi movement? He's supposed to be addressing the NSM faithful on November 7 on the Capitol lawn. NSM Commander Jeff Schoep best watch his right flank. J.T.'s coming up on the outside.