Arizona Daily Wildcat April 21, 1998
Stones and fists fly at Minnesota Nazi gatheringsMINNEAPOLIS (U-WIRE) - Neo-Nazis descended on the Twin Cities last weekend but were hounded by anti-racist groups who violently chased them away from every location they appeared.
Members from a hodge-podge of groups, including University of Minnesota-affiliated Anti-Racist Action, staged rallies and confronted the National Socialist Movement. The confrontation turned violent Saturday in front of the Federal Courthouse building in St. Paul.
Neo-Nazis called a press conference for Saturday after their group was kicked out of the Golden Valley Inn last week for misrepresenting themselves when making hotel reservations.
But before the 11 neo-Nazis could say anything, members of Anti-Racist Action and a group calling itself Refuse and Resist spit, yelled and threw rocks at them.
Some neo-Nazis quickly retreated to their car. As they left, anti-racists members broke the back window and headlights of the Ford Taurus with flag poles that previously sported swastika-emblazoned flags.
Both groups reported minor injuries.
The incident appeared to be over until a second group of four neo-Nazis arrived minutes later.
"All we want to do is organize our own people," said Shannon Callahan, a neo-Nazi from South St. Paul who came to see the press conference.
Protesters quickly found the late-arriving neo-Nazis and surrounded them. Security guards from a nearby building eyed the situation closely.
"We're not here to start anything," Callahan said, as about 40 protesters shuffled closer. "I don't care what people think, I just want to stick up for our color."
Protesters yelled chants such as, "no Nazis, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.," and held up signs that read, "The only good fascist is a dead one."
While the group screamed and moved closer, neo-Nazis found themselves pinned between protesters and a bench. Despite efforts, their shouts were overpowered by the mob of voices berating them.
"Your white revolution is dead, baby," said Michelle Gross, 40, of Minneapolis. "We're not going to let you do this in our town."
Eventually, the neo-Nazis gave up and turned to walk away.
Smelling victory, the protesters hastened the neo-Nazi retreat by following, kicking and spitting on them.
Callahan turned and punched one of the protesters, Daniel Lansing, 27, knocking out his two front teeth. St. Paul police stepped in and arrested Callahan for the punch and sent Lansing to the hospital.
After his release from the hospital, Lansing was arrested for inciting a riot.
At an anti-racist rally Sunday at Steven Square Park in Minneapolis, Gross said the two incidents are victories for groups against racism.
Before being thrown out, neo-Nazis from all over the country were to meet in Golden Valley to attend a National White Unity Meeting at the inn.
"We wanted to be somewhere more white," said Bethany Fleming, 16, of South St. Paul.
The neo-Nazis had been secretive about the site of their meeting after being kicked out of the Golden Valley Inn. A voice-mail message at a neo-Nazi office told callers, "Leave your numbers; we will still meet."
Minneapolis Police Sgt. Mike Martin said there has been an organized neo-Nazi presence in the Twin Cites for a while. But he added that group activity has been declining since 1992 because of Minnesota bias laws.