Oct 24, 2005
A Nazi group from Virginia tried to march through a neighborhood of Toledo, Ohio, making threats against the black population of the neighborhood. Instead, they were chased out by people from the neighborhood. More than 600 people turned out to protest the Nazis’ presence.
The Toledo police marched against the protestors and were pelted with bricks and stones. When the police aimed stun guns and tear gas – not to mention clubs – at the demonstrators, the crowd fought back. They later set fire to a Polish bar in the area.
The original cause for the march seems to have been a simple dispute between two neighbors, a Polish man and a black woman. Disputes like these, over someone bumping a car or how someone keeps their yard, happen all the time in any city. A couple that lives across from the two described the dispute for what it was: neighbors who just don’t get along. But this dispute happened in a city that was changing, with black and Hispanic people moving into what had been a solidly Polish neighborhood. And that gave a racial tension to the fight – not to mention the fact that the particular man involved exhibited racist attitudes.
The man seems to be a bit of an ass. His neighbor’s landlord says he had run-ins with the man for 11 years. The police took a gun away from him for waving it at a group of children. He repeatedly called the police to report drug dealing and “gang activity” – claims the police never substantiated.
In any case, the Nazi group was contacted by someone about the situation and they immediately seized the opportunity to march, posing as the “defenders” of white people.
The march was clearly a provocation and so was the stance of the police. The police say the Nazis legally have a right to demonstrate. Maybe so, but not just anywhere they please. And people have a right to live in their neighborhoods safely, without threat of racists who openly support the violence of the holocaust. Police also claimed that the Nazis were only going to march on the sidewalk. So what? The same police are ready to arrest young black people anytime they find a group of three standing on a street corner! The cops arrested 114 protesters on the day of the march – not a one of them the dozens of Nazis who invaded someone else’s neighborhood.
The police continue to blame what they call “rioting” on the young people and “gangs,” which is a red flag aimed at young black people. What does it mean?
The young people stood up against those who came from 500 miles away to attack their neighborhood, using the excuse of “gang activity.” Older people from the neighborhood joined them. Together they made the Nazi cowards scoot out of town with their tails between their legs.
The “rioting” may have cost the people of the neighborhood something, but the people of the city, both black and white, are better off for it.