Neo-Nazis rallied under gray skies in West Allis, Wis. on Saturday in what they said was a response to last month's violence at the Wisconsin State Fair.
According to reports, about 30 neo-Nazis were met by up to 2,000 counter-protesters. A heavy police presence separated the two groups, and a total of five arrests were made: two for weapons violations and three for disorderly conduct.
Organizers of the Detroit-based National Socialist Party said they wanted to call attention to incidents of violence over the summer. At the fair, groups of black teenagers targeted white patrons, resulting in 31 arrests and at least 11 injuries.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:
There were a few tense moments when a separate group of neo-Nazi sympathizers in the crowd were confronted by a group of angry protesters. Insults were hurled. Then someone threw a metal object, and the crowd backed off.
Police dressed in riot gear moved in quickly, surrounding the area and forming a barrier with their batons.
"Are you hate mongers, are we racists, are we bigots? Absolutely not. There's nothing hateful or racist about our message," said Jeff Schopp of the National Socialist Movement.
As members of the group waved swastika-bearing flags, one participant referred to the Holocaust as a "phony" event and shouted that the country needs "50 Adolf Hitlers -- one for every state."
Meanwhile, counter-protestors beat drums, sang "Kumbaya" and quoted Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi. One teenager shouted into a bullhorn, "I love being black!"
"That message is not welcome here in our community and we're here to stand together and let them know that we're not going to take that," Mandela Barnes with the Coalition for Racial Justice told Fox 6 WITI-TV.
One woman, identified as Sister Charlotte Smits, 69, of Milwaukee, showed up to the counter-demonstration wheeling an oxygen tank.
"Nothing is going to stop me," she told the Journal Sentinel.
Smits dismissed the notion that racially motivated crimes are a problem.
"These were a bunch of stupid kids with bad parents," she said.