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Tuesday, Mar. 22, 2011 at 4:20 PM
Well, the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) carried out their threat to protest in the city of Claremont today. I am not sure which was more pitiful and disgusting, their meagre presence on the street corner surrounded by a very large law enforcement contingent, or their message of intolerance and hate.
A local Native American elder and other guests led a welcome for participants of the counter-demonstration from the center of a large sacred circle at Memorial Park. Following the welcome, the circle converged upon the band stand for a series of speeches and music, but by then groups of various size had begun to drift away, to walk or ride, the short distance up the street to where the NSM were waving their flags and chanting their zeig heil's. The counter-demonstrators took up positions on the other corners and our ranks continued to swell eventually overflowing and spilling over to that fourth corner where the NSM were. On at least a couple occasions things got tense and police had to ensure a buffer between the groups. The crowd was a beautiful cross-section of America, young to old, residents, students, neighbors from other nearby towns, all united with a common message. The worldview of the NSM is not welcome in Claremont, they will find no foothold here, and they should just sink back into whatever black pit they emerged from.
On a personal note, it was wonderful to see so many people taking the time out of their day to add their voice to this cause. When I was in college there were no matters of monumental import to protest, but there was apartheid in South Africa and the need to convince the UC regents to divest any funds which might support the regime in power. The ability to be able to protest against wrong is an example of active democracy at a most fundamental level, and I could see it in the faces of everyone gathered, hear it in the raised voices, and yes, even in the honks of support from the bloody cars passing in the street.
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