Anti-fascist Protesters Take on Neo-Nazi Rally in Pikeville, Kentucky

May 1, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


Confronting armed Nazis in Pikeville, Kentucky.Confronting armed Nazis in Pikeville, Kentucky. (Photo: @IGD_News)


On Saturday, April 29, dozens of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, many of them armed, staged a rally in Pikeville, Kentucky. They were confronted by at least an equal number of defiant anti-fascists who went up against moves by the authorities to intimidate and suppress them. And they took on calls by some local forces to back down in the face of Nazi threats.

Pikeville is a town of 7,000, near the Kentucky-West Virginia border. It is squarely in the largely rural Appalachia region–hours from any big city. The town is 98% white, and voted 80% for Trump. In response to the Nazis’ plan to rally in Pikeville, some local forces called a “Rally for Equality & American Values – A Peaceful Demonstration Against a Hateful Ideology.” But when their “Rally for Equality…” was threatened by armed fascists, the organizers–on the advice of local police–called off their event. The president of the University of Pikeville issued a statement equating the Nazis and the anti-Nazis. He cancelled classes, encouraged students to leave town, and told them not to go downtown. Local authorities passed a special law banning masks and hoods–they explicitly targeted anti-Nazi protesters, invoking protests on January 20 in DC to justify this.

In the face of this intimidation, and capitulation on the part of some forces, anti-fascist activists leafletted the town of Pikeville. They challenged people to stand up to the Nazis. Their statement read, in part:

To the people of Appalachia, we can’t let hate and fear win. We won’t be scared away from protecting our community from these Nazis. We will still be in downtown Pikeville on Saturday to show these white supremacists that their hateful, violent ideology is not welcome here. We ask that you join us in the streets of Pikeville on Saturday to take a stand against these Nazis preying upon our community. We are stronger together. They will be gathering on the courthouse steps at 2pm, we will be there, please join us. We won’t lie to you. These groups pose a real threat of violence, but history has taught us that the rise of fascism cannot be countered with polite words of disapproval alone.”

And their statement concluded: “Together we can show that Appalachians stand together for a world where all are equal. We will see you in the streets this Saturday.”

On the 29th, in the face of constant police harassment and moves to pen them in, over a hundred people, overwhelmingly whites, defiantly and creatively confronted the Nazis in downtown Pikeville. People chanted “Nazi scum off our streets.” Signs included “No One Wants You Here,” “Antifascists Worldwide United,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Make Racists Afraid Again,” and “Rednecks Against Racism.”

The courageous action made a very important statement in the face of Trump’s America and the ghouls and thugs who are emboldened by the regime.


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