Update 12/07/15: According to KOMO and the Stranger, several hundred antifascists gathered in Cal Anderson Park and marched around Capitol Hill Sunday evening. There were no reports of any white supremacist concert, rally or other activity in Ballard or Capitol Hill.
An Internet posting that announced a concert of several white supremacist bands in an undisclosed location in Ballard has a lot of local anti-hate groups on edge.
The posting, which was on the white nationalist website “Stormfront,” said the Dec. 6 concert, organized by the Northwestern Hammerskins white supremacist group, will be followed by a “traditional cross burning” then a march down to Capitol Hill “to show these liberals, anarchists antifa and fags that we are here and here to stay.” The original post has since been taken down.
A counter gathering to oppose the event will be at 5 p.m. Dec. 6 at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, according to the Rose City Antifa, a Portland anti-fascism group.
“Particularly in light of the recent upswell of fascist violence regionally and across the nation, we must vigorously oppose any effort by fascists to claim space and spread fear,” Rose City Antifa posts on its website.
According to the post, other groups have also said they would come to the anti-Nazi protest; the information also was posted on a local anarchist information website.
A benefit concert for the Seattle Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate program is also planned for Saturday at Substation in Ballard in response to the white power concert. The Substation show includes five acts including Invictus, The Ground, We Buy Gold, Colin Bradford and Area 303.
Seattle Police Department spokesman Patrick Michaud said the department has received calls from concerned citizens, is aware of the white supremacist event announcement, and is prepared with resources in case of incidents.
Devin Burghart, Vice President of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, who also noted the rumored event on IREHR’s website, said the Ballard music venues that he’s called reported that there was no event of that nature scheduled and the city of Seattle reports that no marching permit has been issued.
Similar concerts in the past have been held at private venues and usually have taken place outside of urban centers, said Burghart, who also posted a tip sheet on identifying and combating white power messages in music.
“It would be a bit of a stretch of them to have a march,” but still a possibility, he said.
Burghart said it’s also possible that the event could collapse under the scrutiny. Earlier this year, planned anti-Muslim demonstrations at mosques throughout the state fizzled and instead saw other demonstrators holding welcoming signs for Muslims and organizing potlucks to counter any hate messages.
However, people still must take the announcement seriously, Burghart said.
“In recent months there’s been an escalation of looking for street confrontations,” Burghart said.
For instance, in May white supremacists clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters who were demonstrating against an officer-involved shooting in Olympia.
“It shows that we need to be paying attention, and it’s one sign of a larger trend of growing visibility, since a year and a half ago,” Burghart said.