Members of the National Socialist Movement, one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the US, hold a swastika burning after a rally in Draketown, Georgia. AFP

WASHINGTON: Ten people were arrested Saturday when a rally attended by a handful of neo-Nazis was met with hundreds of counter-protesters in a usually quiet Georgia town, local media reported.

Hundreds of police officers were deployed in Newnan, Georgia – around 40 miles (65 kilometers) southeast of Atlanta – ahead of the event organized by the National Socialist Movement, one of the US’s largest neo-Nazi groups.

There were fears the event could escalate into a repeat of the violence that stemmed from a white supremacist rally last August, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

However, only a few dozen far-right members showed up, among them the movement’s leader Jeff Schoep.


Newnan residents October Strange (left), 6, her mother Ashley Frazier (centre) and sister Lily Strange, 7, showed up in the town square in Newnan, Georgia, to voice their opposition to the rally held nearby by the National Socialist Movement and other white nationalists. AFP

“We’re against illegal immigration. We’re standing up on a pro-white platform. And we’re trying to get our message out,” he said.

According to local media, the ten arrested at the rally, held in a downtown park, were counter-protesters.

“The Rally has ended, it was very peaceful for the most part. No injuries to any public safety or protesters. We had a handful of arrests,” the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.


Members and supporters of the National Socialist Movement, one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the US, hold a rally on in Newnan, Georgia. AFP

On Friday, locals covered the surfaces and paths of Greenville Street Park with chalk messages and drawings representing love and peace.

“Today we’re standing together to unite a group of people against this hate group. We’re showing them that we don’t support this. It’s not welcome here in America,” counter-protester Robert Allen said during the rally.

The event came a day after neo-Nazis in Germany, which is witnessing a revival of far-right and ultra-nationalist groups, marked Adolf Hitler’s birthday with the start of a two-day festival.--AFP

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