St. Patrick’s Parade organizers preparing for Neo-Nazi group

In two weeks, the population in Southie will swell from 33,000 to one million -- at least temporarily. Organizers expect hundreds of thousands of visitors to attend the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which usually draws tourists from around the world.

What some elected leaders hope the parade won’t draw: members of The Nationalist Social Club, or NSC-131.

“They’re identified by the Anti-Defamation League as a neo-Nazi organization,” said State Sen. Nick Collins of South Boston. “When people come together to exercise their first amendment rights, I think there’s a notion that can be a free-for-all for anybody.”

Last year, about a dozen members of NSC-131 attended the St. Patrick’s Day parade, wearing face masks and standing behind a banner that read ‘Keep Boston Irish.’ If they do something similar this year, Collins indicates they could be arrested.

“You can’t deface public property, you can’t use public assets without authorization,” Collins said. “Everything they did last year was misuse, unauthorized use or defacing or destruction of public property.”

For example, that offensive banner was hung on crowd-control fencing owned by the city. And Collins said the MBTA had to deal with graffiti the group applied to some subway cars.

Collins and other elected officials are calling for a meeting with the chief of the Transit Police, so as to plan for this year’s parade.

“We’re coming together early to come up with a plan to make sure that all riders in the city feel safe,” said Collins. “We want to make sure people that come to the parade feel safe, they’re not intimidated and they’re not harassed like they were last year by this organization.”

NSC-131 conducted one other protest in Boston recently. Last July, the group demonstrated at a Drag Queen story hour in Jamaica Plain. Police wound up arresting one of its leaders, after a confrontation with counter-demonstrators escalated.

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