Masked neo-Nazi white supremacists march in Washington DC

Maya Oppenheim

Masked members of a neo-Nazi white supremacist group called Patriot Front marched through Washington’s National Mall on Saturday.

Patriot Front, which is part of the so-called “alt right” movement, was established by disillusioned members of another white supremacist group called Vanguard America in September 2017 in the wake of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

Members of the group were accompanied by police as they marched but officials said no violence erupted and no arrests took place.

More than 100 members of the Patriot Front, dressed in khaki trousers and caps, blue jackets and white face masks, yelled “Reclaim America!” and “Life, liberty, victory!” footage of the march showed.

Video of Saturday’s march in Washington posted on the News2Share Facebook page showed occasional hecklers, but there appeared to be no organised counter-protest movement waiting for the Patriot Front as the group marched from the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capitol grounds and later a nearby Wal-Mart parking garage.

They were accompanied by dozens of police officers, some on bicycles, but it was not clear whether the group had acquired a permit for the march.

A spokesperson for District of Columbia Metropolitan Police said it had no record of a permit for the march. Capitol Police and the National Park Service could not immediately be reached for comment.

The police spokesperson said that the “First Amendment demonstration was peaceful with no incidents or arrests”.

The white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August 2017 saw anti-fascist activists clash with neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and alt-right supporters.

James Fields, a self-described neo-Nazi, drove his car into a crowd of peaceful anti-fascist demonstrators and killed a 32-year-old civil rights activist called Heather Heyer. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2018.

Donald Trump drew criticism from his fellow Republicans as well as Democrats for saying that “both sides” were to blame for the deadly 2017 incident.

While the problem of white supremacy has gained increasing attention since the election of Mr Trump in 2016 and then Charlottesville, it has been an ongoing and persistent problem America.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, a manifesto posted to Patriot Front’s website soon after it was established called for “American Fascism” which it referred to as a “return to the traditions and virtues of our forefathers”.

The manifesto also made it obvious people who were not white were not deemed to be Americans.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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