Georgia Town Braces for Neo-Nazi/Antifa Showdown on Saturday
The city of Newnan, Georgia, is bracing for a confrontation between various antifa groups and a neo-Nazi organization on April 21 amid several other family-centered events scheduled for that day. Newnan is 45 minutes southwest of Atlanta.
The National Socialist Movement (NSM) based out of Detroit, Michigan, paid the city of Newman a $50 pavilion rental fee on March 15 to secure space for a "political rally" from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. this coming Saturday, the Newnan Times-Herald reported. Jeff Schoep, commander of the NSM, estimated roughly 50 to 100 people would be in attendance.
Schoep is a nasty piece of work.
Complicating matters for local law enforcement is the fact that activists from a number of anti-fascist groups from the Atlanta area and Valdosta have planned to mount a counter-protest in an effort to disrupt the rally.
The Newnan Police Department is “preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best,” Police Chief D.L. “Buster” Meadows told the Times-Herald.
Valdosta antifa initially put out word about the rally on social media.
In a now-deleted Facebook page created for the counter-protest, the group wrote: “We want the community to take the lead on this, not us…. We hope this is a peaceful ordeal and it can be forgotten about but we also refuse to let Nazis march unopposed… show that Newnan doesn’t accept this.”
It also read: “We don’t need violent confrontation in Newnan but we WILL defend ourselves."
Asked why they would want to give neo-Nazis the attention they crave, "PJ," a spokesman from Valdosta antifa told the Times-Herald that “they are building up recruitment in that whole area.”
PJ said that the anti-fascists would be attempting to disrupt neo-Nazi recruitment by being too loud for members of NSM to videotape the rally. They also said they would be "photographing participants" in an effort to identify them and send the information to their employers.
“The focus is strictly on the NSM,” he said. Antifa wants them to know that they are “not wanted here or wanted anywhere."
“We don’t want them to feel like they can feel comfortable and be safe," PJ said.
In an attempt to put everyone else at ease, he said: “We have no intention of destroying anything. I try to curb that,” he said. "We’re not there for violence. We’re there to try to expose Nazis."
A photo posted on the Valdosta Facebook page on April 10 seems to indicate otherwise.
This video posted in September also casts doubt on PJ's assurances that they plan to be non-violent.
"Protest endorsers" of the counter-rally include Atlanta Antifascists, Atlanta General Defense Committee, Atlanta Industrial Workers of the World, Northeast Georgia Democratic Socialists of America, and Workers' Solidarity Alliance.
According to the Times-Herald, April 21 is shaping up to be a busy day for downtown Newnan.
The “Champion For Children” Superhero 5K along with The Great American Cleanup at City Hall are both set to begin at 8 a.m. The University of West Georgia is hosting a Family Fun Day at the Newnan campus on Jackson Street.
Abby’s Angels Rainbow Run will begin at 9 a.m., but will take place at the Coweta County Fairgrounds.
... And the neo-Nazis and antifa will square off at the pavilion at Greenville Street Park. What could go wrong?
Nearby business owners have been contacted by police "in an effort to assure them the event and security is being addressed," but several downtown businesses have nonetheless decided to close shop on Saturday.
Newnan police are making preparations to prevent a potential debacle like Charlottesville from happening. A review of that violent confrontation between white supremacists and antifa radicals found that local supervisors "devised a poorly-conceived plan that under-equipped and misaligned hundreds of officers" and found that "execution of that plan elevated officer safety over public safety."
Chief Meadows said his officers will keep the opposing sides separated "through several hundred water barricades – each holding 100 gallons of water each." It's not known how much the rally and counter-rally will end up costing the city, but a similar protest in Murfreesboro, Tenn., cost the city a whopping $250,000.
With representatives from 20 different agencies, Meadows said the city will be fully prepared for anything. However, he believes and hopes most residents will avoid the entire area.Social media reports confirmed ANTIFA out of Valdosta plans to counter-protest the event.
Meadows is asking citizens to stay away from the event, so the groups don’t see any indications of support whatsoever.
“Neither one of these groups represent who we are and what we stand for,” Meadows said.
A pox on both their houses.