By Deke Lloyd
The National Socialist Movement is a Neo Nazi group based out of Detroit, Michigan. They are a hate group and they have rallies in cites all over the country. The hate group has come to the forefront of the media after one of their recent rallies, Charlottesville. The National Socialist Movement, NSM, was responsible for the Unite the Right rally that led to a counter protester dying and others injured. The incident in Virginia has not slowed down the NSM or their supporters, another rally was planned for Saturday, April 20th, in Newnan, Georgia.
Newnan is a small city about 40 miles west of Atlanta, Georgia. It is the biggest city in Coweta County with a population under 40,000. It’s a small town nestled deep in Trump Country. Trump won Coweta County by an overwhelming margin, in 2016.
Even with the majority of citizens being Trump supporters, the town’s response was not positive with the NSM having a rally in their town. The city of Newnan decided to have their own response to the rally by having a Unity Night on the Friday before the rally. The city of Newnan wanted their citizens to come out to support the local business and show their unity against the NSM. Newnan had live music and stations with face painting and games, too. The local businesses handed out chalk, so children could cover sidewalks and park, where the rally was happening the next day.
The Atlanta Antifascists also planned a counter protest in reply to the NSM rally. The Atlanta group was working to spread the word to all the same minded groups to show up in force to oppose the Neo Nazi group, NSM. This news of the counter protesters put the city of Newnan more on edge, because of the attention that was being brought onto the rally. In a joint effort with local and state police Newnan heightened security in anticipation of the counter protesters presence.
Newnan was helped by local police from surrounding counties, cities, and towns. Police from as far as Austell, Georgia and LaGrange, Georgia. It was reported that there were near to 700 officers at the rally for the Saturday.
Most of the city businesses closed for the day to avoid the rally. Police patrolled the town square in groups and had every corner of the city occupied with multiple police officers. The city alleys were blocked off, and the through traffic was shut down. Newnan parked heavy trucks in the intersection so cars could not travel near park, where rally was happening. Police also had units of each roof the the city to patrol the area. Four helicopters and multiple drones were also circling the airspace for extra assistance in patrolling from above. The Fulton County Tactical Rescue Unit was on the scene to with multiple heavy trunks surrounding the checkpoints. The police response was large and overwhelming.
The NSM rally was happening at 3 p.m. and going on until 5 p.m. The Atlanta Antifascists and their supporters planned to start their counter protest at 1:30 p.m. The NSM, on the city permit they signed, were expecting between 50-100 people for their rally. The Atlanta Antifascists didn’t have a solid count on their supporters. The Atlanta Antifascists showed up early and in heavy numbers for the rally. The NSM had less than 50 supporters at the rally. It was a lackluster showing for the NSM, and were also late for the rally.
The Neo Nazi group went home, and the counter protesters went home, and the city of Newnan was restored to peace after the strange weekend. Everyone in the city of Newnan was on edge, police and citizens, but the rally ended up going pretty smooth compared to past rally’s involving the NSM. There were a few arrests on the Atlanta Antifascists side involving the wearing of masks.
The police were aggressive with some of the counter protesters, but the City of Newnan and police put out an extensive list of items that wouldn’t be welcomed into the rally.
The response that the city of Newnan deep, in Trump Country, can show us that racism isn’t welcomed anywhere. The Atlanta Antifascist also exhibited great unity with supporters, and other counter protesters. A response like this won’t stop the NSM group from traveling for their rally’s, but hopefully it can show some people from the city of Newnan what is coming from their leadership in Washington. This was a tame rally compared to some of the past Neo Nazi rally’s, but there is still work to be done so that racism can like this can be shut out for good.
Image Source: Deke Lloyd (@DekeLloyd – Twitter)