Filed under: Anti-fascist, Police, Repression, Solidarity, US
Stand with antifascist defendants in Newnan, Georgia, targeted by the police during anti-Nazi demonstrations in April of this year.
On April 21st, 2018, the National Socialist Movement held a white power rally in Newnan, Georgia (approximately 40 miles southwest of Atlanta). Over 700 officers from 42 different agencies mobilized in Newnan to protect the white supremacist gathering and to crack down on counter-protesters. As anti-racists gathered for their protest, militarized police moved in, brutalizing protesters, arresting people seemingly at random, and at one point aiming a loaded rifle at the crowd. Although Georgia’s mask law – originally an anti-Klan measure – was used a pretext for the police assault, both masked and unmasked protesters were arrested.
In the aftermath of April 21, Deputy Chief Mark Cooper of the Newnan Police Department stressed the law-abiding nature of the neo-Nazis hosted by the city. In contrast, Coweta Sheriff Mike Yeager portrayed anti-racists as a threat: “They came here to antagonize, take control of our community and incite fear.” (Trump has since nominated Yeager for the position of US Marshal for the Northern District of Georgia.)
It was later exposed that the City of Newnan and the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office treated a fantasy about an “antifa” rampage in Newnan authored by a far-Right militia supporter as intelligence on anti-racist planning and intentions for April 21st.
Since Newnan, there has been a clear trend of police across the nation acting in tandem with the far-Right to suppress anti-racist protest. In Portland, Oregon, police almost murdered a protester on August 4, when they fired a flash-bang grenade at the head one of the hundreds of anti-fascist protesters mobilizing against the far-Right “Patriot Prayer” organization. In Berkeley, California, police published names and photos of arrested anti-racists, facilitating harassment by the far-Right. In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, police have repeatedly assaulted and arrested anti-racist protesters while helping racist neo-Confederates, ever since the fall of the Silent Sam monument in late August.
Operating in the background, fusion centers under the Department of Homeland Security continue to treat anti-racists rather than murderous white supremacists as their primary concern. These centers have also treated far-Right conspiracy theories and scare stories about “ANTIFA” as credible threats.
It is urgent and essential that we show real solidarity with the victims of this worrying trend. State violence and repression against anti-fascists are intended to break our movements, by spreading fear and by isolating people as they face trial. By standing shoulder to shoulder with those facing repression, we demonstrate that our movements will not be deterred.
In Newnan, twelve anti-racists were arrested on April 21st, but two were quickly released once police could not charge them with anything. Of the ten people who were charged, four have had their charges dismissed or taken plea deals. Two defendants still face felony charges. Funds are still needed, especially as several defendants are still looking for lawyers.
To help with fundraising, please donate and spread this appeal:
In addition, we are asking for public displays of solidarity with the Newnan defendants. Consider hosting a fundraising event, dropping a banner or taking a squad pic. Use the tag #NewnanStrong on social media to circulate news of your efforts, and to let the defendants know you stand with them.