State Capitol hosts protest against KKK, socialist movement

Anne Preller

A rally held by members of the National Socialist Movement and the Ku Klux Klan attracted enough attention to bring an estimated 1,000 people to the State Capitol on August 25.

While 80 Minnesota State Patrol troopers lined a barrier in front of the Capitol, about 50 members of the National Socialist Movement and the Ku Klux Klan rallied, and an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 citizens – most with the Can the Klan event – protested.

The purpose of the rally was to recruit, said Jeff Schoep, national director of the National Socialist Movement.

“We were out there to speak to the white citizens,” he said. “The interesting thing about it was the communists and the homosexuals that made up the brunt of what came out there to protest us.

“It wasn’t a legitimate community group protesting against us,” he added. “Maybe some of the people that went to this ice cream social were legitimate, but the people who came to the Capitol to disrupt what we were saying were communists. Communists and homosexuals.”

This was the first time the National Socialist Movement has partnered with the Ku Klux Klan.

“We’ll work with most pro-white patriot groups,” Schoep said. “I mean, we don’t agree with everything the Klan stands for, and I’m sure they don’t agree with everything exactly that we stand for. We are different organizations but for something like this we can cooperate and work together.”

A spokesperson for the Ku Klux Klan said they had no comment because the rally is over.

Schoep also said he thought the rally forwarded the movement toward building a nationalist social state in America.

“This was a success,” he said, “We’ll hold another one. There’s no date set yet, but we do plan to hold another one.”

Michelle Gross, an organizer of the Can the Klan protest, disagreed.

“I think it was a failure for them. They didn’t get to spew their hate because our crowd drowned them out,” Gross said.

Gross also said she thought the anti-hate rally was “a beautiful success, a wonderful event for the community.”

More than 15 different groups were involved in the protest against the Ku Klux Klan and the National Socialist Movement, including the DFL party, the Welfare Rights Committee and grass roots parties.

“In this community, its hard to get people to come out to something not media-related. We did it in a way that was powerful but peaceful,” Gross said.

A safe area was designated and guidelines were posted for the Can the Klan protest. Protestors were instructed, “Do not physically or verbally threaten anyone inside or outside of this area” and, “Have fun. Toot your noisemaker, chant or sing. Use your positive energy to face down the hate.”

The Minnesota State Patrol is also calling the event a success.

“It turned out fabulously for us, I think, when you look at the low incidence rate we had,” said Kevin Smith, director of communications and media relations for the State Patrol.

“Both groups indicated to us that they wanted to have peace,” he added.

Only four arrests were made; one was believed to be unrelated to the rally, and the others were arrested for disorderly conduct for coming over the barrier, Smith said.

Debbie Pflepsen and her 10-year-old daughter Ashley Ann were on hand to distribute information about the protest.

“I am against the Klan, I mean, people could have a (racial) mix in their bodies and you couldn’t see it,” she said, pointing to her white arm. “And I’m a Jew, that says it all right there.”

 

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