Source Pravda.Ru

Mayor Jack Ford declares state of emergency after riots break out over white supremacists march

A crowd protesting a white supremacists' march turned violent, throwing baseball-sized rocks at police, vandalizing vehicles and stores, and setting fire to a neighborhood bar, authorities said.

When Mayor Jack Ford and a local minister tried to calm the rioting Saturday, they were cursed for allowing the march, and Ford said a masked gang member threatened to shoot him.

At least 65 people were arrested and several police officers were injured before calm was restored about four hours later.

Ford blamed the rioting on gangs taking advantage of a volatile situation. He declared a state of emergency, set an 8 p.m. (0000 GMT) curfew through the weekend, and asked the Highway Patrol for help.

At least two dozen members of the National Socialist Movement, which calls itself "America's Nazi Party," had gathered at a city park to march under police protection. Organizers said they were demonstrating against black gangs they said were harassing white residents.

About 150 police officers chased bands of young men through the area. Officers wearing gas masks fired tear gas canisters and flash-bang devices designed to stun suspects, but the groups continued throwing rocks and bottles. Several officers and firefighters suffered minor injuries, Navarre said. At one point, the crowd reached 600 people, officials said.

Finally, police marched shoulder-to-shoulder down the street shouting to people to stay inside, and the crowd of several hundred broke up.

The mayor had appealed to residents the night before to ignore the march. He said the city wouldn't give the Nazi group a permit to march in the streets but couldn't stop them from walking on the sidewalks.

When the rioting began, Ford tried to negotiate with those involved, but "they weren't interested in that." He said people in the crowd swore at him and wanted to know why he was protecting the Nazis.

They were mostly "gang members who had real or imagined grievances and took it as an opportunity to speak in their own way," Ford said.

"I was chagrined that there were obvious mothers and children in the crowd with them," he said.

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