Frustrated Neo-Nazis Attack Locals After Bungled Rallies in Tennessee

Shelbyville, TN – On Saturday, October 28, hundreds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists descended on middle Tennessee, with at least twice as many anti-racist counter-protesters converging in opposition. A morning “white lives matter” rally was scheduled to take place in a Shelbyville park, as well as an afternoon rally (which was later cancelled by the organizers) in the town square of nearby Murfreesboro, TN.

The events were called by a white supremacist coalition called the Nationalist Front, made up of several groups including the Traditionalist Worker Party, the National Socialist Movement, Vanguard America, and the League of the South. The factions making up the Nationalist Front have been credited with inciting and carrying out much of the street violence in Charlottesville on August 12 during the Unite The Right rally, which many of the same groups helped organize.

The morning rally in Shelbyville got underway around 10 AM, with a group of about 100 white supremacists forming a long line as they waited to be processed through a police checkpoint set up at the park’s entrance.

Many faces from previous neo-Nazi rallies in Pikeville and Charlottesville were seen waiting to enter the park, including Nebraska-based neo-Nazi Dan Kleve, who attended Unite The Right.

Dan Kleve in Shelbyville,  center-left of the background, wearing black shades.

In September we published the contents of a Discord chat server operated by Kleve, that extensively discussed doxing, harassing, and stalking, anti-racist activists and people of color. Kleve’s ‘Pony Power’ Discord server, also reported on by The Intercept, showed Kleve and his associates discussing their desires to commit assault, murder, and other violent crimes.

The larger antifascist protest across the street used chants and sound systems playing music and speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. in an effort to drown out the white supremacist’s message. Another counter-protester was heard loudly offering free DNA tests to the “white lives matter” rally-goers; it is unknown if any of them took him up on his offer.

Police forbade journalists from bringing monopods and tripods into the rally, yet allowed the white supremacists to bring in heavy shields. The same shields (and many of the same men) were involved in brutal street violence against clergy and other protesters in Charlottesville on August 12.

Shortly after Shelbyville police allowed the shields into the October 28 event in an apparent violation of their own rules, one was used as a weapon in an assault carried out by several neo-Nazis who surrounded and attacked independent journalist John Ziegler. Attackers included Jeff Schoep and Kynan Dutton, both high-profile members of the National Socialist Movement (NSM).

Several other journalists (including our reporter) also received verbal threats against their safety from white supremacist rally goers.

Jack Anderson, a local 20-year-old man who stopped by on his lunch break from work, told local news that he approached the “White Lives Matter” rally and was asked by a neo-Nazi who he was with. When Anderson told the Nazi it was none of his business, the man responded by forcefully putting him in a headlock, from which Anderson attempted to free himself.

Anderson says the man then dragged him over to police who immediately arrested him for disorderly conduct. Police do not appear to have arrested the man on any basis other than a neo-Nazi who assaulted Mr. Anderson indicated that he would like him to be placed under arrest.

This picture appears to show League of the South member Ike Baker assaulting Jack Anderson. Photo credit: Stephanie Keith/Reuters

Shelbyville city officials did not respond to our request for comment about the incidents in which neo-Nazis assaulted Ziegler and Anderson.

As the scheduled start time neared for the afternoon event in Murfreesboro, hundreds of anti-racist counter-protesters began to arrive. As in Shelbyville, police in Murfreesboro appeared to be searching protesters at checkpoints as slowly as they possibly could, to maintain a low turnout inside the militarized “free speech zone.”

Shortly before the Murfreesboro rally was scheduled to begin, a group of about 100 masked antifascists arrived marching in a bloc formation.

Most of the antifascist bloc were wearing black masks, many of which read ‘Heather’ in white letters across their bandanas.

Image credit: The Tennessean

As tensions began to build as the uneasy crowd was eager, yet apparently unable, to pass through the checkpoint, bizarre scenes at times unfolded in the crowded closed streets just outside the entrance to the “free speech zone.”

After several hours of protesters and reporters anxiously waiting to be let thru the Murfreesboro checkpoint, it was announced that organizers from the League of the South had cancelled the event.

Apparently instead of rallying in Murfreesboro, members of the National Socialist Movement had gathered in Henry Horton State Park to make a “human swastika” formation for a helicopter. When local news crews arrived, the promptly got in their vehicles and fled the area, leaving their campfires burning.

Later that night, white supremacists from the League of the South held a torch rally on private property.

Also on Saturday night, a different group of over 20 white supremacists, including Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP), reportedly started a fight at the Corner Pub in Brentwood, TN. The group began harassing an inter-racial couple that was eating in the establishment, and a white woman also in the restaurant intervened, and was struck in the face. Both the white supremacists and the woman who confronted them claim to have not thrown the first punch. Video taken from inside the building shows a fight going on just outside the window. Traditionalist Worker Party leader Matthew Heimbach can be clearly seen in the video. Speaking to Fox17, Hunter Wallace, the white supremacist organizer of the cancelled Murfreesboro event, blamed the fight on TWP members.

Some white supremacists involved in the incident also filmed themselves fighting outside the pub and harassing people of color in the area.

Nashville police later released a statement saying they are investigating the incident and seeking to identify a suspect who was involved.

The next day on Sunday, October 29 several white supremacists showed up at the parking lot of a church in Antioch, TN where a service was underway. They briefly harassed church-goers before leaving the area to avoid being further photographed by reporters.

Postings by various white supremacist organizers in the aftermath of the event show a series of denunciations, blaming, and infighting that illustrate the continuing trend of fragmenting and infighting within the white supremacist “alt-right” movement since Unite The Right in Charlottesville.

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