The Nazis are coming: Pro-white nationalism group plans rally on state Capitol grounds
Law enforcement preparing strategy as Sacramento anti-fascist group promises counter protest
One week after hundreds of peaceful demonstrators flipped a Sacramento pastor’s homophobic rants against him by organizing a pro-LGBT block party on his church’s doorstep, another clash between hate and tolerance is expected.
But this one could turn ugly.
For weeks now, Sacramento has simmered with anxious rumors that neo-Nazis would descend on the state Capitol for a rally this coming Sunday.
Indeed, the California Highway Patrol granted a permit to the Traditionalist Worker Party to hold an event on the Capitol’s west side from noon to 2 p.m. on June 26, according to online state permit records. The group, which identified itself on the permit as “a political party whos [sic] agenda is traditional American values,” projected a turnout of about 50 like minds.
Founded by Matthew Heimbach, a white nationalist who shoved a black female protester at a Donald Trump rally earlier this year, the Traditionalist Worker Party espouses the idea that white people are under siege and supports strict racial segregation. But it couches its beliefs in terms like “ethnic consciousness” and “traditionalism.”
The Golden State Skinheads, a white nationalist “social club,” according to its website, has been promoting the TWP event, deepening the link between the political group and the neo-Nazi agenda. (An email to the group was not returned.)
CHP Capitol Bureau spokesman Sgt. Steve White told SN&R his office is obligated to grant permits as long as those seeking them complete an application and agree to follow the rules for being on state property, regardless of their message. It’s a First Amendment issue, he said.
The CHP can revoke a permit, however, if it “determines that any activity covered by such permit is creating or causing risk[,] injury or illness to persons; risk of damage or destruction to property,” among other things, the State Capitol grounds rules state.
Social media has been abuzz with the possibility of violent confrontations, White acknowledged.
Antifa Sacramento, a new local chapter of the Anti-Fascist Action Network that started three decades ago in London, has been stirring up support for a counterdemonstration on social media since April 12. The group is aiming for 500 attendees to appear for what it’s described as a “showdown” in fliers and other materials.
While not encouraging violence, Antifa Sacramento isn’t insisting against it, either. In a May 2 post, the group said that it favored “a multi-faceted approach to fighting racism.”
“This means that individual people have their own methods of combating hate and we do not criticize others tactics,” the post continued. “Our objective is never violence. We believe that hate should not have a platform in our community and we are determined to shut them down.”
White said the CHP and Sacramento Police Department had coordinated on a security strategy to insure both the demonstration and counterprotest remain “peaceful.”