Group planning 'White Unity Rally' at Statehouse

The Associated Press/July 11, 2002

A Minnesota group says it will have a "White Supremacy Rally" next month at the Kansas Statehouse. The event, scheduled for Aug. 24, is sponsored by the National Socialist Movement, headquartered in Minneapolis. On its Internet site, the group is encouraging other "pro-white" groups to join the rally.

The group's Internet site features depictions of the flag of Nazi Germany, as well as its swastika symbol.

Jeff Schoep, the group's commander, told The Lawrence Journal-World that Kansas was chosen as the rally site because of its central location.

The group staged a rally last year on the steps of the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul that also attracted the Ku Klux Klan and about 1,000 counterdemonstrators, according to reports.

Lt. John Eichkorn, spokesman for the Kansas Highway Patrol, said: "We want to make sure that all of the groups stay safe and can exercise their First Amendment rights."

Eichkorn said officials from state and local law enforcement agencies have been meeting to discuss the rally and would try to make contact with any group that plans to demonstrate.

Roy Menninger, chairman of the anti-hate group Concerned Citizens for Topeka, said his group planned to have a "competitive rally" at an alternative site.

The Minnesota group received a permit from the Kansas Department of Administration.

Agency spokesman Ben Bauman said the group complied with rules of conducting an event on the Statehouse grounds and that the department rarely denies permit applications.

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