Neo Nazis protest outside Missoula synagogue; one arrested
(Missoula Current) A rally outside a Missoula synagogue on Saturday left some Missoula residents upset and members of the Jewish community concerned.
Clad in sunglasses and bandanas to hide their faces, a small group of white supremacists and Neo Nazis gathered outside Har Shalom on South Brooks, carrying signs reading “Diversity = White Genocide” and “Refugees Not Welcome.”
The group included members of the National Socialist Movement, according to the Montana Human Rights Network. At least one member of the group was arrested on Saturday after the rally moved downtown.
“We are all aware that attacks on Jews around the world have stepped up since October 7,” the Zootown Jews stated in an email. “We have heard of at least one recent incident in Missoula in which a Jewish man was accosted and subjected to a very frightening anti-semantic rant by a stranger.”
Later in the afternoon, the rally moved downtown near the county courthouse, where a separate rally was taking place. The two rallies occurred peacefully until one member of the white supremacist group demonstrated what the Missoula Police Department described as “a concerning escalation in the behavior.”
“The individual's words and actions were deemed to have crossed the line from protected freedom of speech to potentially constituting disorderly conduct,” a police spokesperson said in a statement on Monday. “After multiple verbal warnings from the lieutenant, the male did not comply.”
The 46-year-old male was arrested and taken into custody without incident. He has since been cited and released.
“The City of Missoula Police Department remains committed to upholding the rights of individuals to express their opinions and engage in peaceful protests, while also ensuring public safety and enforcing the law when necessary.