INDIANAPOLIS — On Saturday, members of a white nationalist group marched throughout downtown, including on Monument Circle during the Indianapolis Labor Fest.
It has not yet been made clear why the group was marching, and it hasn't been posted under the action section on the group's website yet. Though, the group did post videos of its demonstrations in Indianapolis on one of its Telegram channels.
On Monday, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett delivered a firm message to the group.
"You are unwelcome in Indianapolis if your message is going to be purely about division, disunity and hate for one another. I speak not just for Indianapolis but for America as a whole," Hogsett said.
While the hope of Hogsett and many others is that the group will stay out of the Circle City, they are well within their First Amendment right, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
In a statement to WRTV, they said:
“(The FBI) is committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of all Americans to express their views peacefully during demonstrations. We also have a responsibility to ensure public safety and will not tolerate violence or destruction. We are committed to working closely with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to stop any individuals who intend to commit violence or criminal activity under the guise of carrying out a demonstration."
Mayor Hogsett explained that the city, nor the authorities, knew of the group’s plans for Saturday.
The randomness and fear created by the march beg the question of what to do when you encounter a protest of the sort.
According to Rachel Carroll Rivas, Interim deputy director of research and analysis for the Intelligence Project with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), these marches are always privately planned and unannounced.
This allows for the group to spread its message without disagreements forming along their route.
“People need to be prepared to counter these dangerous ideas, especially among young men, particularly young white men that they’re luring into their movement,” Rivas said.
Rivas said the march is a reminder of the importance of having knowledge that people with extremist ideas exist.
“I encourage caretakers, media, really just anyone to be informed about these ideas, and be prepared to counter them with youth, with friends, with family members,” Rivas said. “Because they’re really seeking to manipulate people into supporting these ideas and giving the air of acceptance.”
SPLC and the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL) have put together a guide with videos about how to speak to your children and loved ones when you come across extremist groups.
Their guide, which can be found here, comes in English, Spanish, German and Portuguese.
WRTV did not reach out to the Patriot Front for comment.
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