A Detroiter who heads a national neo-Nazi group said members have permission to march against illegal immigration at a weekend rally at Kentucky’s Capitol in Frankfort, where state authorities said they plan heightened security.
The rally will be about “illegal immigration, rampant crime, the recession and white civil rights,” the group says on its website, which has a swastika superimposed over an American flag.
Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., described the group as the nation’s largest neo-Nazi movement. “These are people who do nothing but go around and stir up trouble,” Potok added.
Schoep said the group puts little emphasis on its ties to Germany’s Nazi Party and is mainly interested in what’s good for U.S. citizens.
“Not even half our members have German backgrounds,” Schoep said. He said he spends a lot of time on the movement but has a job managing a small record label in Detroit, though he wouldn’t give details.
He said the key issue at the rally will be illegal immigration.
“Our government is allowing this, and they’re giving amnesty to these people. The Democrats and the Republicans both are giving these people a free pass.
“And especially here in Michigan, so many people are out of work and can’t feed their families, and then you have illegals coming in and taking their jobs,” he said.
Illegal immigrants “scurry into this country like roaches” and then work “for taco wages — and I’m not just talking about Mexicans,” said another member of the group, Duke Schneider, 61, of New York City. Schneider, a retired corrections officer, said he is an SS lieutenant in the National Socialist Movement.
In Kentucky, state police spokesman Lt. David Jude said troopers would keep streets open and ensure the protest “remains peaceful and safe for everybody.”
Gov. Steve Beshear called the group’s ideology “reprehensible” but added in a statement that the Constitution “affords the right to free speech and free assembly to all, and we respect those rights.”
Several groups have said they would send counter-demonstrators to Saturday’s rally.