April 21, 2018 Newnan - Anti racist protesters protest as the National Socialist Movement holds a rally at Greenville Street Park in downtown Newnan on Saturday, April 21, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A ‘Peace in Park’ event aims to heal Newnan after neo-Nazi rally

On Saturday, downtown Newnan was the uneasy host to a caustic mix of neo-Nazi demonstrators overwhelmed by counter-protesters and police. On Sunday, the city is set to stage an event organizers hope will help heal the community. 

The “Peace in the Park” event will feature live music, speeches by local politicians and military veterans and a “Newnan Rocks” table where visitors can write inspirational messages on stones that will be hidden around the city, according to the Newnan Times-Herald. 

The National Socialist Movement held a rally in Newnan Saturday. Neo-Nazis said they were gathering to discuss "hot-button issues." About 25 neo-Nazis showed up. Hundreds of counterprotesters and police were also on site. Newnan officers arrested several counter protesters.

The rally held Saturday was planned by the National Socialist Movement, a Detroit-based fascist organization that applied for a permit in March. City officials begrudgingly approved the request, though city and state leaders made clear they dreaded the event. 

With nearly 700 law enforcement officers watching, about 25 neo-Nazis showed up an hour behind schedule to the rally. The group was separated from hundreds of protesters by an 8-foot fence and armed officers. 

Read more: Overwhelming police presence mutes Newnan Nazi rally 

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