Andrew Anglin, the founder of neo-Nazi and white supremacist website the Daily Stormer, has issued a statement announcing that neo-Nazi activists will march through the small town of Whitefish, Montana while heavily armed on January 15. The occasion, chosen to take place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is presented by Anglin as a reaction to a story published by the Daily Stormer that claims Jewish residents in Whitefish have been harassing the mother of another neo-Nazi leader, named Richard Spencer, due to her son's outspoken beliefs.
"Montana has extremely liberal open carry laws, so my lawyer is telling me we can easily march through the center of the town carrying high-powered rifles," wrote Anglin. "Currently, my guys say we are going to be able to put together about 200 people to participate in the march, which will be against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who supports either. We will be busing in skinheads from the Bay Area."
The controversial rally has already been condemned by legislators and officials with various political affiliations, with top Montana Democratic and Republican lawmakers warning neo-Nazis on Tuesday that they would find no refuge in Whitefish. Among those opposing the rally is US Representative Ryan Zinke, recently picked by President-elect Donald Trump to be Interior secretary.
"We say to those few who seek to publicize anti-Semitic views that they shall find no safe haven here," Zinke wrote in an open letter also signed by Democratic Montana Governor Steve Bullock, US senators Republican Steve Daines and Democrat Jon Tester, and Republican Attorney General Tim Fox.
Richard Spencer, whose mother Sherry is at the center of the Daily Stormer march, is the president of the National Policy Institute, a think tank within the alt-right movement that includes neo-Nazis and white supremacists. He made headlines following the presidential elections after a video posted online showed him addressing his followers in celebration of Trump's win, with several crowd members hailing Trump's election victory with a Nazi salute.
Spencer the son has said on Twitter he might pursue Zinke's House of Representatives seat if Zinke is confirmed as Trump's Interior secretary.
Meanwhile, it is reported that Spencer's mother Sherry is facing pressure from community members to sell a building she owns in Whitefish because of its ties to her son, while also disavowing her son's beliefs. The building has been the subject of protests in the community.
As pressure began to mount against the building, the Daily Stormer urged its readers in an article to "take action" against Jews in the Whitefish area.
In the article, the Daily Stormer called for an "old fashioned Troll Storm" against community members and published their names and phone numbers along with a yellow Star of David superimposed over their photographs.
The website, in general, contains many anti-Semitic descriptions and images of Jews, but claims it does not endorse violence.
Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial said to the press last week that his department has assigned extra patrols to the homes and businesses of the residents identified in the Daily Stormer article. However, Dial said there had been no reports of harassment or intimidation of the Jewish community that rose to the level of a crime.
Dial also said Federal Bureau of Investigation officials told him they interviewed Spencer and that he denounced the Daily Stormer postings.
While Dial has promised that the march will not materialize—basing this on a conversation he had with Spencer—Anglin remains adamant that it will take place unless Sherry Spencer receives an apology from the Jewish residents he claims have been harassing her. Anglin stressed that Richard Spencer is not involved in the rally's planning, while Spencer said that though they have not been acquainted, Anglin sounds like a reasonable person.
In a statement to Reuters, Spencer's father said he and his wife "love our son, but do not agree with his polemics, societal desires or his extreme political leanings."
The National Policy Institute, which Spencer heads, describes itself as an organization "dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world." Spencer had originated the term "alt-right" as a reincarnation of racist Nazi rhetoric, and he believes that he and Trump share the same worldview. Trump, for his part, denounced Spencer and his ilk just as soon as he won the elections.