Nashville leaders denounce swastika marchers

Nashville leaders denounce swastika marchers

A hate-filled group marched with swastika flags through downtown Nashville on Saturday, drawing condemnation from a wide range of groups.

The demonstrators, wearing red t-shirts and black masks chanted, “Deportation saves the nation,” WKRN-TV reported.

Social media posts condemned the group as cowards, with state legislators from both sides of the aisle chiming in.

“Just left an event honoring a Black sorority and spoke of the need to unite against the rising tide of white supremacy, only to be confronted by Nazis marching through downtown Nashville,” Democratic state Rep. Justin Jones posted on X.

Disgusted that Nazis are comfortable doing this,” state Rep. Justin Pearson wrote on social media, while Democratic state Rep. Aftyn Behn said her office was “closely monitoring” the situation and said that “these groups once relegated to the dark corners now feel empowered to spew their noxious ideology out in the open due to our state’s leadership REFUSING to condemn their speech and actions.”

Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, right, speaks to Rep. Justin J. Pearson, D-Memphis, left, on the House floor before the State of the State address Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

AP Photo/George Walker IV

Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, right, speaks to Rep. Justin J. Pearson, D-Memphis, left, on Feb. 5 in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

An incredulous Nashville Vice Mayor Angie Henderson also weighed in.

“That I even have to say this. NAZIS are NOT WELCOME in NASHVILLE,” she wrote on X. “Get your hateful, dangerous, fascist, Nazi nonsense off our streets & off our beautiful Public Square.”

While Jones, Pearson and Behn said conservatives enabled such activity, Republican colleagues also condemned the group.

“Go away Nazi thugs. This is Tennessee and you are NOT welcome here,” state Rep. William Lamberth on said X. “Btw, why not show your faces so we can all see who you are? I would be willing to bet that none of you are from anywhere near here.”

Local Jewish leaders decried the incident and said they would not be cowed.

“Yesterday, a group of Nazis decided to publicly intimidate and harass by displaying their hateful imagery through the city,” Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville CEO and Rabbi Dan Horwitz said in a Sunday statement obtained by The Tennessean. “They flew flags with swastikas on them. They chanted antisemitic slogans. And they hid their faces with masks, like the cowards they are.”

The crowd numbered about two dozen, The Tennessean reported.

“I was heartened by the videos that circulated on social media of everyday folks in our city — most of whom were not Jewish — challenging and calling out these bigots vocally as they spewed their hate,” Horwitz told The Tennessean.

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