A group of Neo-Nazis holding flags with swastikas on them marched on the Wisconsin State Capitol grounds in Madison on Saturday afternoon, with one lawmaker saying their presence was “alarming.”
The neo-Nazi rally comes at a time of great division in America over the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Pro-Palestinian groups are calling for a ceasefire amid the fighting in Gaza after Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, launched its deadliest attack on Israel on October 7. In response, Israel launched its heaviest-ever airstrikes on Gaza, with pro-Israel groups supporting the country’s right to self-defense.
The group on Saturday wore red shirts that said “Blood Tribe” on the back and performed the Nazi salute, or Hitler salute, which was a gesture used by the Nazi Party in the 20th century as a signal of obedience to their leader, Adolf Hitler.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Blood Tribe is described as “a neo-Nazi group with semi-autonomous chapters in the United States and Canada. Blood Tribe promotes hardline white supremacist views and openly directs its vitriol at Jews, ‘non-whites’ and the LGBTQ+ community.”
As the group marched in Madison, they chanted, “Israel is not our friend,” “We are everywhere,” and “There will be blood,” according to witnesses.
State Representative Lisa Subeck, a Jewish Democrat from Madison, said the presence of a neo-Nazi group at the Capitol is “alarming.”
“Especially right now where we’ve seen a rise in antisemitic activity,” she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think it’s something that we should all be concerned about.”
The Madison Police Department (MPD) said that they monitored the incident, but the demonstration was lawful, citing free speech.
“Whether you believe that’s what this group is doing or not, it’s First Amendment rights,” Stephanie Fryer, spokeswoman for the MPD, told the newspaper on Saturday.
Newsweek reached out to Fryer via email for comment.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said the neo-Nazi rally was “truly revolting.”
“Let us be clear: neo-Nazis, antisemitism, and white supremacy have no home in Wisconsin. We will not accept or normalize this rhetoric and hate,” Evers said in a statement. “It’s repulsive and disgusting, and I join Wisconsinites in condemning and denouncing their presence in our state in the strongest terms possible.”
In addition, StopAntisemitism, a nonprofit aimed at combating antisemitism, posted videos of the neo-Nazi group on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday and wrote: “Nazis in Germany 1939? No, Madison Wisconsin 2023.”
X account Republicans against Trump also posted clips from the rally and wrote: “This is where we’re at in 2023. The rise of anti-Semitism in our country is horrifying.”
Newsweek reached out to StopAntisemitism via email and Republicans against Trump via X direct message for comment.