The National Socialist Movement (NSM) is calling its April 22, 2006 gathering in Lansing a “national rally” and is encouraging racists from around the United States to attend the protest. The NSM is likening the April rally in Lansing to large NSM rallies held over the past two years in Valley Forge and Yorktown where over 100 white supremacists gathered. The NSM has called on members of the various white supremacist groups to “stand united at public events” and has extended invitations to the National Alliance, the Aryan Nations, the Ku Klux Klan, the Creativity Movement (formerly World Church of the Creator), and other white supremacist groups. A time has also been confirmed for the Lansing rally with the NSM planning to gather between 2:00pm and 4:00pm on the steps of the Michigan state capital building.
This past weekend, the National Socialist Movement held a rally in Toledo, a follow-up event to an October rally. While the October rally provoked a confrontational response from the community and resulted in confrontation between residents and police who were perceived to be protecting the NSM, this weekend’s rally was considerably less confrontational. This lack of confrontation was due to the NSM’s rallying in downtown Toledo instead of a neighborhood as well as the city of Toledo’s draconian security measures that essentially enacted a form of temporary martial law. Protests were confined to designated areas and reports from Toldeo have described the arrests of anti-racist protestors being arrested on the basis of dress and the perceived likelihood that they would participate in an illegal protest. The security measures resulted in $300,000 being spent by the city of Toledo to deploy 700 police to protect around 30 NSM members from the estimated 100 protestors. The protests resulted in around 30 arrests with the majority for minor violations.
No plans have yet been announced for a protest in response to the NSM’s rally in Lansing, but given the history of past NSM rallies around the country and anti-racist activity in Michigan, it is certain that some form of protest will take place. Past protests in Michigan in response to white supremacist meetings in Lansing and Ann Arbor have incorporated militant tactics in which protestors attempted to prevent or shutdown the rallies, and in some cases, succeeded after confrontations with the police. Militant protest against public white supremacist activity has been a popular means of protest by the left since the 1990s, with the group Anti Racist Action having a long history of militant protests.