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Tea Party Counterprotesters' Violent Clash with Anti-Immigration Crowd (VIDEO)Tim King Salem-News.com
Who attacked who at a Florida anti-immigration protest?
(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) - A media group called World Net Daily, sent Salem-News.com a video clip this morning of a violent clash between protesters at an anti-immigration counter protest in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The group claims that last Saturday, "Che Guevara supporters with a radical pro-amnesty coalition viciously attacked and bludgeoned tea party protesters at a Florida anti-illegal-immigration rally."
Che Guevara died in 1967. His image lives on through signs and t-shirts and certainly a few campfire stories, but how do you actually support a dead Revolutionary who hasn't been around for 42 years? I quickly realized that the spin on this one was high speed, but I found it interesting.
My first thought after watching the video was that it was pretty alarming stuff, very violent, and the clip has all of these little tags with words telling you what is taking place.
The media group that sent us this video is clearly is on the side of the anti-immigration crowd, but they caused me to believe, particularly with the accompanying tags telling the story, that the pro-immigration crowd may have gone too far.
But then I started searching for related videos on YouTube, and I found the same video, with different captions, published by The ANSWER Coalition, a group that says it has been on the front lines of the immigrant rights struggle for years.
They presented the story very differently.
In their words, "several white supremacist organizations, including the Minutemen and Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC), initiated Anti-Amnesty Tea Parties across the country."
They say the rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, included people holding racist signs like "Spay and Neuter Your Mexican" and chants such as "white power".
World Net Daily claims that two Fort Lauderdale tea party protesters, "were brutally beaten by pro-amnesty activists on the day of the nationwide rally as they attempted to film Florida's Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition counter protest."
The ANSWER Coalition responded yesterday by claiming that the widely circulated ALIPAC video depicting a confrontation between the two sides is a propaganda piece meant to distort the realities of what took place.
ANSWER Florida says they organized the demonstration to show political opposition to what they see as a message of racism, put forward by these organizations.
"The demonstration gathered on the opposite street corner from the Anti-Amnesty rally. At no point did the ANSWER demonstrators cross over to the location of the other rally."
A spokesperson for The ANSWER Coalition says their group is peaceful, but has faced increasing threats when protesting near the different right-wing groups in recent months.
This may help explain an email sent out before the Tea Party by The ANSWER Coalition. It was called "provocative" by The Huffington Post.
The email, according to some, is calling supporters to arms. Right-wing Internet sites have it published everywhere.
The ANSWER Coalition says ultra-right and fascist forces are feeling emboldened right now.
Sarah Sloan, National Staff Coordinator for The ANSWER Coalition in Washington D.C. told Salem-News.com today that the word "militant" in the email is mean as a show of strength, and she says it is symbolic of their convictions.
"In this case militant means having a strong feeling or belief in something you are expressing. The people opposing us are carrying guns, they are already threatening and dangerous."
The group stated in a news release, "They have Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Glenn Beck and other right-wing mouthpieces in the mass media pumping out hate, hysteria and xenophobia seven days a week. It would be a serious mistake to minimize the danger posed by pro-fascist elements in the United States."
The Tea Party's ties to racism are proven and simultaneously disproven in another video clip, shot by Phoenix Channel 3 News, of a Tea Party rally in that state.
This shows a racist neo-Nazi trying to unfurl a banner with Hitler's face, being attacked by an angry Tea Party protester who clearly states that the movement is not about racism.
And in his eyes it clearly wasn't.
So this group of angry mostly white protesters, who are also the anti-Obama and anti-healthcare crowd, certainly have earnest members who mean what they say and are only in this case, protesting illegal immigration.
But their rallies are also very clearly a no less than a magnet for the scum of the earth, modern-day Nazi party members who are the most flagrant exploiters of American Civil Rights, assembling in ways that are not and have not been allowed in Europe since the defeat of the Third Reich, sometimes with the support of groups like the American Civil Liberties Union.
Of course they have a right to assemble and that is a fact, but in this case they picked a bad crowd, just as they would have if they had set up shop near the pro-immigration demonstrators. This anti-Nazi position demonstrates the common ground that obviously exists between these opposing groups. Hopefully a day will come when these hardcore positions can be abandoned.
Yet The ANSWER Coalition seems as rigidly determined to stem the flow of racism, as the mostly-white anti-immigration crowd is resigned to holding their ground over immigration, healthcare and higher taxes for wealthy Americans.
The ANSWER Coalition says times no longer allow the hoods, white robes and swastikas, the primary symbols of the ultra right, but the core, poisonous message has only been repackaged.
There was a time when militant left-wing groups made big headlines in the world. In the 1950's and 1960's it was people like Fidel Castro, Che Guevera and many others, who fought the ruling classes, along with groups like FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – Ejército del Pueblo The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army, and in the U.S., The Symbionese Liberation Army which kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst.
But Sloan says the email comments are not a call to violence, she says they are a reminder as to who they are dealing with.
"This is about being able to protest without the harassment of others. We all know that some of these extreme right-wing groups are connected with militias and they carry guns and they are dangerous."
One thing clear in the videos from Fort Lauderdale that seems indisputable, is the fact that a right-wing protester, carrying a video camera, entered the area where the pro-Amnesty counter protesters were assembled.
Exactly what happened is not perfectly clear, but it probably would not have happened if the right-wing protester had not walked into the counter protester crowd.
In a related video, activist Robert Erickson "punked" the Tea Party crowd in Minnesota with a speech that, "exposed the hypocrisy of the white supremacist, racist & xenophobic rhetoric of the right-wing extremists, who use dangerous imagery to frame the immigration debate."
Erickson says meanwhile in Minnesota the Dakota people control .006% of their original land base, which was stolen via fraudulent treaties, genocide and ethnic cleansing.
It reminds me of a friend's 't'-shirt that shows a Native American on a horse with a caption that reads, "Fighting Terrorism since 1492." It is interesting that a small number of Americans have managed to make such a serious uproar under the new President.
When the last one took this nation to Iraq they were the quiet and faithful ones.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
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