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March 21, 1982 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-03-21

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Page 8-Sunday, March 21, 1982-The Michigan Daily

Nazi rally becomes violent

(Continued from Page 1)
entrance to the building, closed off by
brick walls on two sides and the
screaming crowd on the others.
THE NAZIS, many of whom are
teenagers from Detroit, frantically
pounded on the locked doors as the mob
advanced, hurling stones, chunks of ice,
batteries, and wooden posts. After
several minutes, a rock crashed
through the plate glass, showering the
pavement with glass. Some of the
demonstrators began scuffling with the
Nazis, who tried to fight off the mob
with nightsticks and clubs.
During the scuffle, one S.S. Action
Group member was dragged into the
crowd and kicked by the protestors.
Another of the neo-Nazis appeared to
have suffered cuts on his head and nose.
At one point during the brawl, as two
of the Nazis tried to smash out the rest
of the broken window, a federal
security officer inside the building drew
his gun and braced to fire, warning the
Nazis that if they tried to enter the
building through the broken window, he
woLid shoot them.
ALMOST immediately, dozens of
police officers rushed through the
crowd, shoving demonstrators aside
with riot sticks. It was the first display
of police force, and for most of the
demonstrators at the front of the clash,
in fact, it was the first time they had
seen a police officer at the Federal
Building rally. Demonstrators,
however, continued to pelt both the
police officers and the Nazis with st6nes
and eggs as police escorted the Nazis
around the side of the building.
Behind the building, the Nazis and
police were surrounded again as they
waited for a bus from the sheriff's
department to transport the Nazis from
the area.
Once loaded on the bus, the Nazis
tried to shield themselves from rocks
and bottles that demonstrators hurled
through the broken bus windows. The
bus then drove the Nazis to the
Washtenaw County Jail in Ypsilanti,
where they were united with their
As police ushered the Nazis onto the
bus, some members of the crowd chan-
ted "Police and Nazis work hand-in-
hand." And, some demonstrators later
accused the police of using unnecessary
force, though no official complaints were
filed with City Hall.
BUT POLICE Chief Corbett said the
police were only doing their job. "Our
responsibility was to protect everyone
and their conistitutional rights (to free
speech)," he said. "And we did so. We
don't take sides."
After the rally, city officials, still
trying; to piece together exactly what
had happened were quick to praise the
police department's handling of the
clash. "I'm never satisfied when a
crowd gets ugly," said Mayor Louis
Belcher, "but the police, under the cir-
cumstances handled the situation very
well. You would have to go back to the
'70s pr early '60s. to find anything equal
(to the rally)."
Said Police Chief Corbett in a
makeshift press conference after the
melee: "The only delay in getting the
fight broken up was getting our officers
in a squad front. We exercised our
plan. There was absolutely not a riot."
"I hope they're gone for good,"
Belcher said. "It'd be smart if they
didn't come back."
BUT TED DUNN, a leader of the neo-
Nazis, said in a telephone interview late
yesterday his group may return next
year, or may even make the rally an
annual event.
"As far as Ann Arbor goes, we don't
know when we might come back
there," he said, adding that they might
return to picket City Hall if the City
Council were to pass new gun control
laws, for example.
Dunn, who said he was not scared by
the violence, added that he was not sur-

prised. "They (the demonstrators) had
said all along that they were going to at-
tempt murder," he said. "They were
out trying to kill us, but they failed."
MEMBERS OF the several counter-
demonostration groups hailed the clash
as a "victory for all decent citizens."
Al Nelson, a spokesman for the Com-
mittee to Stop the Nazis, said "the
massive anti-Nasi demonstrators
prevented the Nazis from carrying out
their race-hate rally."
Corbett said no arrests were made
and that no one had been seriously in-
jured, though several demonstrators
and at least one police officer were seen
with cuts and other injuries. Dunn, con-
tacted by telephone in his Detroit home
after the clash, said some members of
his group had been injured, though none
were hospitalized.
Three ambulances waiting nearby
the rally treated only one person, a
demonostrator who had broken his leg
after falling off a concrete ledge.
POLICE WITH riot gear had been
stationed around City Hall waiting for
the original rally since 9 a.m., and
Police Major Walter Hawkins said
"almost every" Ann Arbor police of-
ficer was on duty at the rally. He added
that Washtenaw County sheriff's
deputies were standing by in the event
of greater violence. City Administrator
Terry Sprenkel estimated the extra
police manpower cost the city $7,500.
The first demonstrators began
assembling in front of City Hall shortly
after 10 a.m., chanting slogans and
bearing banners. The rally there was
worked by divisiveness between at
least three different groups, two of
which sought credit for organizing the
Dunn said late yesterday afternoon
that his group crove by City Hal at 10:30
a.m. but decided not to stop because so
many demonstrators had assembled.
Instead, they drove on to a pay phone at
Stadium and Packard, he said, and
called police to ask for an escort into
City Hall. When police refused, they
decided to show up unannounced at the
Federal Building, Dunn said.
Dunn said his group is already plan-
ning another rally in downtown Detroit
for sometime in May.
Most of the demonstrators at the rally
said afterward they were pleased with
the way things went. Said one mother,
Inge Merlin, who brought her eight-
year-old son to the rally: "I wanted him
to see it. I think it's important that he's
made conscious of this." Tom, her son,
said only, "I wanted to see the Nazis."
Another demonstrator, who was able
to glance over the sea of heads in front
of him to catch a glimpse of the Nazis
pressed up against the Federal
Building wall said, "My God, they're
only a bunch of little kids"

Daily Photo by KIM HILL

POLICE USE riot clubs to force back anti-Nazi demonstrators.

Daily Photo by JACKIE BELL
A DETROIT S.S. group leader shields himself during the melee at the Federal Building.


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Daily Photo by DEBORAH LEWIS
NEO-NAZIS COWER behind shields in the corner of the p'arking lot as the mob of demonstrators surges against the police line. Inset shows detail of neo-Nazis.


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