A Nazi organization has cancelled plans for a march in Whitefish, Montana, which had been scheduled to take place on Martin Luther Kind Day. The march was planned to support white supremacist Richard Spencer who comes from the area.
The Nazi group claimed that Spencer’s family was being harassed and also called on its supporters in Montana to put Nazi flags in their windows and to put the Nazi swastika on their cars, homes and businesses.
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Local newspaper The Whitefish Pilot is reporting that the organizers were forced to postpone the march because the city said that their application for a permit was incomplete and it was to late for them to reapply in time for Monday’s holiday.
Whitefish City Manager Chuck Stearns told the paper that the city received the application by mail on Monday and that “We are still reviewing the application, but we cannot act on an incomplete application.”
Neo-Nazi site: White supremacist march in Whitefish postponed https://t.co/RfAYkJjV5R
— Missoulian (@missoulian) January 12, 2017
“If a march were ever to happen, please be assured that the Whitefish Police Department has a critical incident plan in place aimed at ensuring the public safety of our citizens and visitors, ” Stearns said last week.
Whitefish, Montana, will go ahead with its planned Martin Luther King Day celebrations without the Nazi distractions. A celebration will feature musical performances and presentations by students at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center.
The organization Love Lives Here will hold a party from 4 to 7 p.m in the city. It was at the center of the Nazi controversy . Love Lives Here campaigned against Richard Spencer and called for boycotts after the white supremacist announced that he might run for Congress in the area. Love Lives Here also worked to counter the spread of racist literature and Antisemitic incidents in Montana which increased after Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States.
— Billings Gazette (@billingsgazette) January 12, 2017
Elsewhere in Montana, the Billings Gazette reports that Missoula Rises, a nonpartisan group that aims to protect diverse voices and human rights through education, dialogue, vigilance, accountability and activism, is handing out posters expressing tolerance for businesses to display in honor of the Martin Luther King Day holiday next Monday. The posters have a map of Montana with a heart in the middle and a caption which reads, “”NO HATE in Our State, Designated SAFE Business.” A local synagogue in Missoula was recently forced to seek police protection after Nazi flyers were distributed in the area.
“As we’re approaching Martin Luther King week, it’s a really great time to show that our community stands for inclusion and diversity, and that we reject hate, ” Erin Erickson, of Missoula Rises told the Billings Gazette.
Rachel Carroll Rivas, co-director of the Montana Human Rights Network, told the paper, “I hope that these ‘No Hate In Our State’ signs are just a continued piece of the good work that shows the energy, the power and the volume of support behind really positive good things.”
— Billings Gazette (@billingsgazette) January 11, 2017
The Billings Gazette is also reporting that 2, 000 people are expected to take part in the Women’s March in Helena, Montana, on January 21, the day after the Trump inauguration. It will be one of many solidarity marches across the country to be held at the same time as the main one in Washington D.C. The marches were planned in response to what many believe is Donald Trump’s hostility towards women. But the Montana march will also be about the increased incidents of racism and Antisemitism in Montana and across America since Donald Trump won the Presidency.