On Saturday, residents and activists in Toledo prevented a rally by the National Socialist Movement (NSM) (sometimes called “America’s Nazi Party”) using physical force in a protest that eventually targeted both the NSM members and local police. The march, organized in a Toledo neighborhood by the NSM to highlight “black violence” and to “stand up to gangs” was called off before it could start as the police could not guarantee the NSM members’ safety after an angry crow of 600 to 1,000 people gathered to prevent the march from taking place. Following the prevention of the march, many protestors, angered at the Toledo police department’s protection of the NSM and aggressive policing of protestors clashed with police resulting in at least 60 arrests.
While many in the corporate media and the Toledo city government have described the “riot” that took place as emboldening the Nazis, there has been little substantive investigation of the underlying reasons for the residents’ aggressive response. Instead, the corporate media and city officials have placed the blame primarily on “gang members” who wanted to destroy the neighborhood by taking advantage of the protest. To support this opinion there has been widespread discussion of vandalism and the looting of local shops; a discussion that has almost entirely shut out the primary target of any community violence, the NSM members and the police force that allowed them to march in a residential neighborhood. The Toledo police department’s decision to allow the NSM to stage a march through a residential area, and the resulting protection they had to give to the NSM no doubt sparked the violent protest, although it is more likely the underlying tensions causes of the protest were far more complex and involved the ongoing interactions between the Toledo police department and the city’s people of color. The protection of NSM and the arrest of protestors likely provided a focal point for years of rage from institutional racism, much of it at the hands of the police. Reports on independent media websites describe property destruction as being targeted and specific, with police vehicles being the primary targets.
While it has been hard to find specifics about what exactly transpired and the attitudes of the Toledo community that participated in the protest, Michael Brooks, a Toledo resident and freelance writer, has a blog that contains some worthwhile thought-provoking analysis and numerous photographs.