Multiple local community and political leaders have condemned the neo-Nazi group of around 20 people who marched through downtown Madison on Saturday afternoon carrying Nazi flags and alarming students and citizens.
“Madison does not want or welcome hate groups like the one that invaded our community today,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway in a statement. “I know how disturbing it was to see Nazi symbols openly displayed on our streets. Please know that the Madison Police Department was closely tracking their activities and was prepared to intervene if needed.
“This group and others like it are trying to normalize hatred, racism and antisemitism. We must not let them succeed. Hate has no home in Madison, and we must not let it take root here,” she added. “Together, we can continue to build a strong community with strong democratic institutions that respect First Amendment rights, while embracing and valuing diversity.”
The group walked up State Street to the Wisconsin State Capitol before heading to James Madison Park on Saturday afternoon, according to the Madison Police Department police report. No weapons were displayed.
“Saturday’s repulsive display — an abuse of our right to free speech — serves as a reminder that we, as advocates for peace and unity, must remain vigilant and prepared to confront those who seek to sow contempt and fear,” said Masood Akhtar, president/founder of We Are Many-United Against Hate. “This shows why our anti-hate movement is so necessary today, to confront such vile acts and speak out for peace and unity for everyone.”
The group, wearing red and black with black masks, was roughly in the city from noon until 2 p.m.
“To see neo-Nazis marching in our streets and neighborhoods and in the shadow of our State Capitol building spreading their disturbing, hateful messages is truly revolting,” said Gov. Tony Evers in a statement.
“Let us be clear: neo-Nazis, antisemitism, and white supremacy have no home in Wisconsin. We will not accept or normalize this rhetoric and hate. It’s repulsive and disgusting, and I join Wisconsinites in condemning and denouncing their presence in our state in the strongest terms possible.”