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Neo-Nazi group protests in Phoenix

Nov. 8, 2009 at 2:13 PM

PHOENIX, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- A National Socialist Movement leader said his neo-Nazi group protested in Phoenix in an attempt to defend the United States.

NSM leader Jeff Schoep was among several neo-Nazis who gathered in the Arizona capital Saturday to protest at an America First Rally in support of their country against illegal immigration, The Arizona Republic reported.

The neo-Nazi demonstrators were met by a separate gathering of protesters who were drawn together to oppose the National Socialist Movement's message.

"There's all kinds of people, from different races and colors," said Phoenix resident Andy Hernandez, one of the individuals opposing the neo-Nazi protest at the capitol. "We represent America. We didn't shut them down, but we gave them a counter-protest. We just oppose what Nazi represents."

"I've never done anything like this before, but there's just so much racial tension in Phoenix lately," fellow Phoenix resident and protester Cole Wilcox offered. "I don't want it to seem like (they are) welcome here."

The Republic said police officers were on hand Saturday to prevent the two sides from escalating their conflict beyond verbal barbs.

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