Neo-Nazis March Through Downtown Nashville in the Middle of Black History Month

About two dozen neo-Nazis marched through Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, chanting and wielding giant swastika flags while spewing hate at a man who trailed and recorded them, calling them cowards for disguising their identities with masks.“What are you ashamed of?” the heckler, Ruwan Karu, shouted in an interaction that he shared on Twitter/X, adding, “Show

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About two dozen neo-Nazis marched through Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, chanting and wielding giant swastika flags while spewing hate at a man who trailed and recorded them, calling them cowards for disguising their identities with masks.

“What are you ashamed of?” the heckler, Ruwan Karu, shouted in an interaction that he shared on Twitter/X, adding, “Show me your fucking faces!”

“You don’t belong here,” one of the extremists replied. “Go to your third-world country!”

The white supremacists, dressed in red shirts and apparently part of the “Blood Tribe” fascist group, chose Black History Month to trek past a row of downtown restaurants and retail stores.

“Seeing Nazis rally in broad daylight on a lovely Saturday afternoon in downtown Nashville should make us all angry,” Karu told The Daily Beast. “Families enjoying chicken and BBQ were subject to hate our grandparents fought against.

“We need more people to let them know to their faces that they are in fact the minority,” he said.

State Rep. Justin Jones also captured the sickening scene.

“Just left an event honoring a Black sorority and spoke of the need to unite against the rising tide of white supremacy, only to be confronted by Nazis marching through downtown Nashville,” Jones tweeted. “This is exactly what my Republican colleagues hate speech is fostering and inviting.”

In a phone call Saturday, Jones told The Daily Beast it was jarring to leave an event that discussed racial justice only to encounter neo-Nazis hurling slurs about immigrants—just blocks from the state Capitol and the heart of Music City.

“It’s just a disturbing situation,” he said, adding that “racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric” from his Republican colleagues was helping to normalize hate groups.

“They’re normalizing this, so that these types of extreme manifestations of white supremacy feel comfortable coming out into the streets,” Jones said.

“I didn’t want to run away and hide from it,” he continued, “because I think we have to let people know that this is our community, and that we’re not going to be intimidated.”

Last year, Jones and another Black member of the Tennessee House of Representatives were expelled after attending a gun control protest in the wake of a massacre at a private Christian elementary school. A third legislator, who is white, joined them at the rally but didn’t face the same discipline. The expulsion made national news.

It’s not the only time the House chamber has made headlines.

This week, Jones introduced resolutions to honor musical artists Paramore and Allison Russell for their Grammy wins, but a Republican lawmaker objected to the latter moving forward; Rep. Jeremy Faison claimed he received questions about Russell (a Black queer woman) and decided to pause her resolution. As a result, Paramore’s Hayley Williams released a statement condemning the “blatant racism of our state leadership.”

Meanwhile, a House committee passed a bill banning pride flags in schools and any other flags that represent a “political” or “ideological viewpoint.” Critics have pointed out that the legislation does not specifically prohibit the Confederate flag.

Jones said that in August, far-right group the Proud Boys appeared outside the Capitol with banners and weapons, trying to intimidate legislators while the House held a special session around gun violence.

Last year, Republican Rep. Paul Sherrell apologized after suggesting that “hanging on a tree” could become a new execution method in the state, apparently ignoring the state’s shameful history of lynchings.

“I don’t want people to think, ‘Oh, these neo-Nazis,’ like this is disconnected from the more subtle and sophisticated policies of racism that we’re seeing,” Jone said.

“These groups are being given a greenlight by people in suits,” Jones added. “There are people who don’t have a neo-Nazi flag, but who espouse the same ideology, through their rhetoric and through their policies.”

“So I think you have to draw a direct correlation between the march of these neo-Nazis and the actions in places like our state houses where they are attacking immigrants.”

Democratic Rep. Aftyn Behn tweeted a similar sentiment: “these groups once relegated to the dark corners now feel empowered to spew their noxious ideology out in the open due to our state’s leadership REFUSING to condemn their speech and actions.”

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