Cops Defend Nazis as Hundreds Protest in Toledo
by Alex Gould

Chanting "No Nazis, No KKK, No Police Intimidation", about 200 anti-fascist demonstrators made themselves heard in Toledo, Ohio on Saturday, December 10 as the city rolled out the red carpet for the second National Socialist Movement rally this year. Toledo residents were joined by groups from Detroit and other points in Michigan, Chicago, and other towns in Ohio. The Nazis were far outnumbered by the anti-Nazi crowd when they finally peeked out at us from behind four massive rows of riot cops and began spewing their message of terrorism and genocide at the multinational and very unwelcoming audience below them at the City Hall plaza. The city authorities allowed the Nazis to use a sound system but forbade anti-nazi protestors from carrying picket signs or megaphones.

But what the Nazis lacked in numerical strength was made up for by political support from the city of Toledo, county sheriffs, state highway patrol, and cops and SWAT teams from as far away as Michigan who came to harass the anti-nazi protestors. The Toledo Blade estimates that 700 police officers were at the Nazi rally and counter-demonstration. When the National Socialist Movement, an avowed terrorist organization whose stated purpose is the mass murder of most of the world's population, accused the African-American residents of Toledo of "black crime" and attempted to march through their neighborhoods on October 15 this year, the people of Toledo rose up in a heroic rebellion against racism that threw the fascists out. Over one hundred anti-nazi protestors were arrested and some are still facing charges. The cops used tear gas on the hundreds of mostly Black youth who gathered in the streets to defend their city against the Nazi provocation and the racist cops who were escorting the Nazis. Parroting the Nazi line, the police and city authorities decried the "violence" of the anti-nazi protesters as they gassed the people and pursued them with helicopters, horses, and phalanxes of riot cops.

Knowing that they could not guarantee the Nazis safety in the neighborhoods, the city of Toledo obtained a court order from judge Thomas Osowik which awarded the Nazis center stage in downtown Toledo for their Saturday afternoon rally on December 10. While the Nazis protested this limitation in court, the weight of the court injunction was not aimed at them but at anti-Nazi protesters. We were confined to a small protest pen which was entered through a metal-detector and pat-down search with individual photographs of each protester by the cops. Protesters were not allowed to carry bags or backpacks into the designated protest area.

Even before the rally began, the police had set up an assembly-line arrest and booking operation in the police station next to the rally site, and the arrests started. Five youth from Chicago on the way to the protest were pulled over and searched by cops. The passengers and driver were thrown to the ground, cuffed, and charged with "contempt of court" -- violating the anti-free-speech injunction by "congregating" in another part of the city. In Monday's Toledo Blade, Judge Francis X. Gorman said "We had this whole thing planned out really well", referring to mass arrests of anti-Nazi protesters. 29 people were arrested, more than one out of ten of the protesters. The cops repeatedly rode their horses into the dense crowd of protesters, stomping on at least one protester's foot, and dragged people, including this reporter, out of the crowd by their necks and into the waiting jail cells. Elizabeth O'Brien of Lansing, Michigan says she was shocked repeatedly with a Taser by the police and has 35 welts on her left thigh. Ileana Cortez of Detroit was charged with assaulting a police horse, although no injuries to police animals were reported. No Nazis were arrested, although three local racists who infiltrated the protest were arrested.

The city of Toledo showed that they would use any means necessary to give fascists an unobstructed platform from which to spread their genocidal, racist garbage. This time, the counter-protesters were not numerous or organized enough to decisively defeat the Nazis and their cop friends, but despite overwhelming police oppression they made it clear that Nazis were not welcome in Toledo. The truth must be told about how the police carried out a premeditated plan to violently suppress opposition to the fascist recruitment rally, and about how the state is not a neutral arbiter of free speech but a patron and defender of ultra-right terrorists. Only the working class can defeat the Nazis and the racist system that supports them. As the political prisoners taken from the Toledo protest waited in the county jail (which charges its mostly indigent black inmates $100 per night for reeking cells, putrid food and drinking fountains built into toilets), the bourgeois media was already spreading its lies and justifications for the police attacks. On Tuesday, December 13 the Toledo Blade editorialized that the massive police violence was "almost a non-event", and lied that "nobody was injured".

They can't hide from their racist record. They will use their Nazi friends to change the subject to the phantom menace of "black crime", but they can't hide from the overwhelming poverty in a city that makes millions for Daimler-Chrysler's Jeep division and other corporate monopolies. They can't hide from the fact that Black motorists are twice as likely as whites to be stopped by police and issued tickets in Toledo, according to USA Today. They can't hide from the monstrous racist injustices of the "war on terror", or the genocidal neglect and abandonment of the people of New Orleans and the Gulf coast. It's time to bring this racist system down.