Saturday, October 15, 2005

Toledo Youth Rebellion Sparked by Neo-Nazi Provocation

PANW Editor's Note: Today's youth rebellion in Toledo was sparked by the Neo-Nazi provocation in the face of growing alienation and oppression in this Ohio city. Obviously there are deeper underlying social issues that have not been addressed by the political and economic elites in this section of the city that lead to the destruction of buildings and the defiant confrontation with the local police.

Media accounts of the fighting today has focused more on the violence and the city authorities response. More attention much be focused on the growing socio-economic crisis in the urban areas of the United States which will inevitably provide the political context for more urban rebellions and other forms of resistance to the escalating crises in the American capitalist system.

Abayomi Azikiwe, Pan-African News Wire, Editor

Updated: 07:27 PM EDT

Nazi Gathering in Ohio Sparks Violence

Mayor Blames Gangs for Vandalism; At Least Six Arrested

TOLEDO, Ohio (Oct. 15) - A crowd that gathered to protest a neo-Nazi march Saturday turned violent, throwing baseball-sized rocks at police, vandalizing vehicles and stores, and setting fire to a neighborhood bar, authorities said.

Mayor Jack Ford blamed the rioting on gang members taking advantage of a volatile situation. He said he was declaring a state of emergency and setting an 8 p.m. curfew. He also ask the Highway Patrol for help.

"It's exactly what they wanted,'' Ford said of the group that planned the march, which was called off because of the rioting.

At least two dozen members of the National Socialist Movement, which calls itself "America's Nazi Party,'' had gathered at a city park just before noon and were to march under police protection. Organizers said they were demonstrating against black gangs they said were harassing white residents.

Violence broke out about one-quarter of a mile away along the planned march route.

About 150 police officers in helicopters and on horses and foot chased bands of youths throughout the afternoon. Officers wearing gas masks fired tear gas canisters and flash-bang devices designed to stun suspects, only to see the groups reappear nearby and resume throwing rocks and bottles. A group pounded on a convenience store and overturned vehicles. A fire was set in a nearby bar. At least six people were arrested.

Police Chief Mike Navarre said officers had a report of a man shot in the area, but they had not found a victim. No other injuries had been reported, Navarre said.

The mayor had appealed to residents the night before to ignore the march.

He said the city indicated it wouldn't give the Nazis a permit to march in the streets but couldn't stop them from marching on the sidewalks like other citizens.

When the rioting broke out, Ford tried to negotiate with those involved, saying he would meet with them to discuss any grievances, but he said "they weren't interested in that.''

He said they were mostly "gang members who had real or imagined grievances and took it as an opportunity to speak in their own way.''

"I am disappointed that some folks who clearly are not strong citizens to begin with took this opportunity to make this statement,'' Ford said. "I was chagrined that there were obvious mothers and children in the crowd with them. Several intimated that they had guns.''

Thomas Frisch, 76, said a large group of men destroyed the exterior of a gas station next to his home of 30 years.

"A whole big gang started to come in here. Next thing you know, they're jumping on the car.

Then they overturned it. Then they started on the building, breaking windows, ripping the bars off,'' he said.

Keith White, a black resident, criticized city officials for initially allowing the march.

"They let them come here and expect this not to happen?'' said White, 29.

10/15/05 18:39 EDT
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Article published October 15, 2005

Violence in North Toledo after Nazi march canceled; mayor declares curfew

Residents gathered on Stickney Avenue near Woodward High School


Mayor Jack Ford declared a state of emergency this afternoon following a violent uprising in North Toledo that erupted following an aborted march by a group of Nazis.

He issued a citywide curfew starting at 8 p.m. tonight, tomorrow, and possibly Monday.
Mr. Ford said those protesting were mainly male gang members in their 20s. He said the protests were not triggered by race relations but by gang members with grievances.

"We went to talk to them. Most of them were gang members in full colors," the mayor said.

"Their anger was based on some long-standing things but also that we had allowed the [Nazi] walk to occur in the first place."

North Toledo descended into chaos for several hours this afternoon after angry crowds who turned out to protest a planned march by a small group of National Socialist Movement calling themselves "America’s Nazi Party" erupted into violence.

A mob of at least 500 people threw bricks and rocks at police and vehicles, looted a bar at Central and Mulberry and started it on fire, and overturned a car at a North Toledo gas station and burned it.

There were reports of minor injuries to police and numerous arrests.

The violence started around noon as police were getting ready to escort about 15 Nazis on a march that was supposed to start at Wilson Park and continue on Mulberry Street and Bronson and Dexter Avenues, ending up back at the park.

Because of the violence - which broke out along Stickney Avenue away from the Nazis gathered in the park - police cancelled the march and told the Nazis to leave, which they did.

The violence began dying down around 4:30 p.m., according to Lt. Frank Ramirez of the Toledo Police Department. But Mr. Ramizez said it was touch-and-go for several hours, and he was concerned about possible violence tonight.

"Originally, it was just crowd control. Then it went out of control,"he said. "We just had to scramble" to bring in more police officers to back up the already beefed up presence of 150 officers on hand for the Nazi march.

"It was a mob. Obviously, the unexpected happened," Mr. Ramirez said.

He estimated at least 60 percent of Toledo’s police force was on duty just in the North Toledo area because of the violence, and the Lucas County sheriff’s office also was on hand.

Toledo Police chief Mike Navarre praised his officers, saying they "performed remarkably" and showed a lot of restraint. Before sending in police in force to make arrests at around 3:30 p.m., Mayor Ford and Toledo Fire Department chief Mike Bell approached the mob and attempted to negotiate a compromise. But as they talked, and as the crowd yelled and screamed at them, looters broke into the bar at Central and Mulberry and began taking merchandise.
Mr. Bell eventually began walking back toward a large group of police shaking his head.

"No more negotiating," he said. "We’re done. They just set a building on fire."

Chief Navarre said there were upwards of several dozen arrests made but he did not have exact numbers. He added that some police officers and fire fighters were injured in the melee but their injuries were not serious.

The chief said police could have arrested hundreds of people who were involved in incidents of looting, burning businesses, and throwing rocks.

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Article published October 15, 2005

Planned Nazi march cancels food giveaway

A Nazi march planned for today has canceled a neighborhood food giveaway that usually distributes groceries to about 250 families on Saturdays.

The Rev. Waverly Earley, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church, 2934 Stickney Ave., said she called off her church’s Feed Your Neighbor program. She cited concern over the “potential volatility” of a rally by the National Socialists Movement, a Virginia-based neo-Nazi group that said it would stage a march in North Toledo today.

“A lot of the people who come to our [distribution] site are large families, with five or six children. We don’t want to take any chances on those people being negatively affected” should marchers pass near the church, Pastor Earley said.

She said the program, which operates the last three Saturdays of the month, will resume next week with extended hours, from 9 a.m. to noon.

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