Some 300 members and sympathizers of a
self-described neo-Nazi organization waved swastika-adorned flags and loudly
protested U.S. support of Israel yesterday as about 1,000 police officers kept
The protesters from the National Alliance rallied for two hours on the Capitol grounds near the Reflecting Pool to complain about U.S. aid to Israel. They drew hundreds of counter-demonstrators and the watchful eyes of what U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer said was a force of 1,000 police officers.
Alliance members held signs that read "Nuke Israel" and "We Don't Care About Your Holohoax," and carried the image of founder William Luther Pierce, who died last month. They also hoisted the red, black and white National Alliance flag.
Alliance leaders urged the crowd not to taunt counter-demonstrators, who chanted, among other things, "Stand up and shout, kick the Nazis out."
Park Police charged one onlooker with disorderly conduct early on after he threw a large rock at a neo-Nazi, Lt. Tom Neider said.
Counter-demonstrators also knocked down a barricade that police put up to control the crowd during the rally.
Billy Roper, coordinator of a group called Taxpayers Against Terrorism, addressed the protesters, most of whom appeared to be men and women in their 20s and early 30s. Mr. Roper, 30, wearing a dark suit in the sweltering heat, also moved through the crowd and talked with reporters.
"The U.S. government in our names gives $6 billion to Israel in direct aid," Mr. Roper said. "It gives more aid to Israel than any other country in the world."
Someone threw a cobblestone, taken from Columbus Circle, at a Park Police officer on a motorcycle. The officer was not struck, but his motorcycle was damaged.
"I think we were really lucky. We really missed the blow. I'm feeling very fortunate," said one officer who helped provide security. "There were large groups of anarchists who left behind really huge book bags full of baseballs and rocks."
"It went pretty smoothly," Lt. Neider agreed.
D.C. police did not arrest anyone in connection with the rally, spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile said.
The rally broke up at 12:15 p.m., when police escorted the protestors toward Union Station. On the way, Capitol Police confiscated a homemade anarchist flag that was on a staff police said was too large.