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White supremacists march through Nashville while hiding their faces

Patriot Front's white supremacist members march through Nashville, Tennessee
Patriot Front's white supremacist members march through Nashville, Tennessee Photo: CNN screenshot

On Saturday, the far-right group Patriot Front led a march through the streets of Nashville, Tennessee. Many local have decried their action as a march for white supremacy.

Nashville mayor Freddie O’Connell gave a statement about the march on X, saying, “But what we should all do is refuse to allow this to be normalized. Just because someone is exercising their First Amendment rights does not mean we must accept someone shamelessly identifying as a Nazi as just another American.”

Nearly a hundred men donned blue shirts and khakis while their faces were covered with masks, bandanas, sunglasses, and baseball caps as they stormed through the streets. Having climbed out of three U-Hauls – something that violates the U-Haul company policies – the marchers held up American and Confederate flags while holding up a “Reclaim America” banner and passing out flyers of unknown content. Some even donned America-themed shields while spraypainting their logo under a bridge.

Patriot Front member Thomas Rousseau shouted their message through a bullhorn: notably, that the group believes they’re superior to other races due to their ancestry. He also called for the “inevitability” of white nationalism.

Patriot Front is a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group that traces its origins to the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that infamously led to the death of one anti-racist protestor, Heather Heyer.

State Rep. Justin Jones (D) said on X, “White supremacists marching outside the Tennessee Capitol today. This comes after a march of neo-Nazis in the Spring and Proud Boys rallying there a year ago. Shame on my Republican colleagues who continue to welcome these hate groups to our state with racist laws and rhetoric.”

Jones is referring to an event that occurred in February where another group of neo-Nazis, who also jumped out of U-Haul trucks, stormed the streets of Nashville. Additionally, he referred to an October 2022 Trump rally that featured members of the hate group the Proud Boys on the streets of Nashville.

Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Hendrell Remus said in a statement, “This is what we’re fighting against in Tennessee. This is what we’re fighting against in America. While our Republican State leaders sit quietly by, we refuse to let hate-filled racists terrorize our community.”

This isn’t the first time that Patriot Front arrived to cause disruption. Two years ago, they arrived at an Idaho Pride festival in Coeur d’Alene, which led to members being charged with conspiracy to riot. One of the participants of this event, who had previously called LGBTQ+ individuals groomers and pedophiles, was arrested for child pornography. 

The group vandalized an LGBTQ+ senior home with the phrase, “f**gots will die in a fire.” They were also caught defacing a Pride mural in Olympia, Washington, and worked with more outwardly explicit Neo-Nazis in berating a Drag Queen Story Hour event in Ohio.

Nashville’s NAACP said of the event, “As a community that has been directly impacted by historical grief and turmoil from similar white supremacist groups, we stand United against all forms of hatred that they act upon. We collectively refuse to allow these acts to be normalized. These actors of ancestral amnesia are seeking attention while hiding behind the masks of oppression and shame.”

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