Approximately 85 white supremacists and neo-Nazis chanted racist slogans between speeches at a 90-minute rally in Valley Forge National Park, Pennsylvania, on September 24, 2004.
Members of the Minneapolis-based National Socialist Movement (NSM) staged the event and were joined by skinheads and members of other racists groups, including Aryan Nations, the Ku Klux Klan and the Creativity movement.
ADL experts in its Philadelphia Office played a key role in countering the NSM by providing background to law enforcement agencies, media and the public, and by working in coalition with community organizations, including the Philadelphia Catholic Archdiocese, Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the NAACP.
Hundreds of counter-protesters, including members of Anti Racist Action, a large, occasionally violent and loosely organized protest group, were kept in an area several hundred feet away from the park’s amphitheater stage, the main rally point. Despite heavy police presence and the distance between the hate groups and counter-protesters, a few confrontations occurred at the entrance to the park before the rally.
In one incident, a vehicle entered the park and was surrounded by counter-protesters who sprayed mace and hit the car with their signs and fists. Another incident occurred when a group of white supremacists were hit by signs as they walked through a crowd of anti-racists; one counter-protester was arrested for allegedly hitting a Nazi sympathizer with a stick.
Jeff Schoep, commander of the National Socialist Movement, was among the speakers at the rally. “The Constitution was written by white men alone. Therefore, it was intended for whites alone,” Schoep said. Pennsylvania Aryan Nations leader, August Kreis, added, “We are not a nonviolent organization. When the time comes, we will be violent.”
Ten members of the New Black Panther Party, a racist and anti-Semitic black militant group, arrived after the rally ended to confront the white supremacists. Park Police confiscated a baseball bat and a long flashlight from them. King Samir Shabazz, head of the Philadelphia chapter of the New Black Panther Party, told reporters, “We came to let the KKK and those neo-Nazi crackers know we will not tolerate them…we believe in the race purity of black people.”