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Outrage Greets Armed Nationalists’ Rally in Small Kentucky Town

© REUTERS / Carlo AllegriA large Confederate battle flag flies above highway 75 in Tampa Bay, Florida June 24, 2015
A large Confederate battle flag flies above highway 75 in Tampa Bay, Florida June 24, 2015 - Sputnik International
Pikeville, Kentucky, only barely escaped violence on Saturday as anti-fascist (Antifa) demonstrators confronted crowds of white supremacists that came to their town for a rally.

The event was organized by members of the country's biggest neo-Nazi groups Traditionalist Workers Party, the League of the South and the National Socialist Movement, in a bid to appeal to the predominantly white population of the town. But many residents seemed shocked that their hometown was picked for such an event.

"We have no clue why they would even pick Pikeville," said Elizabeth White, who has lived in Pikeville for about 50 years, as cited by Vocativ. "Why don't they go disrespect their own homes, their own people, their own families?"

Left-wing groups from across the South took to social media to urge supporters to gather in Pikeville and disrupt the rally, called 'Take A Stand For White Working Families.'

The event lasted about three hours. More than a hundred white nationalists were present, many them dressed in black and waving American and Confederate flags while giving the Nazi salute.

​Open Sieg Heil gestures and "88" patch (stands for the 8th letter of the alphabet, HH or Heil Hitler) in #Pikeville as the NSM & TWP arrive pic.twitter.com/06JoUeRW3h

​Residents feared the event would spark violence, especially since Kentucky is an Open Carry state with reciprocity, meaning that if someone has an open carry permit in another state they can also carry a weapon legally in Kentucky. However, nobody was hurt and the two groups seemed to be limited to yelling profanity at each other, while local and state police maintained a heavy presence.

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Сity officials took all necessary steps to avoid violent clashes. On Monday the city commission issued an emergency ordinance and prohibited people in the downtown area during the rally from wearing hoods and masks that could conceal protesters' identities. The police in riot gear were very successful in keeping the opposing sides separated.

All these factors contributed to the relatively non-violent confrontation, and as the rally concluded, the nationalists left Pikeville in a motorcade of about 30 vehicles protected by police.    

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