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Weekend Nazi Protests In Florida Condemned By Lawmakers

Weekend Nazi Protests In Florida Condemned By Lawmakers

A protest near the University of Central Florida staged by more than a dozen self-proclaimed Nazis on Sunday drew criticism from Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, Democratic Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and other elected leaders who issued statements declaring that antisemitism and hatred have no place in Florida. The demonstrations took place a week after antisemitic flyers were distributed to hundreds of homes in two South Florida cities with large Jewish populations.

The group, decked out in Nazi garb yelled antisemitic slogans outside a Florida shopping plaza and waved swastika flags from a highway overpass before authorities broke them up.


During Saturday’s demonstration, some participants got into a fight with a passerby, but no arrests were made and an investigation is ongoing, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Florida Highway Patrol said in a statement that they and sheriff’s deputies had disbanded the group on the overpass Sunday.

Local Democratic lawmakers said they were appalled by the demonstrations and urged Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to condemn the demonstrators. The governor’s spokeswoman, Christina Pushaw, said in a tweet that Democrats were insinuating that DeSantis’ policies were responsible for the demonstration. Pushaw also at first questioned if the demonstration might be “staged.” But she deleted that tweet, saying in a later tweet, “I admit I don’t know who staged the protests in Orlando and waiting for law enforcement to confirm.”

[Writer’s disclosure: like many Twitter users, I’m blocked by Pushaw]


Later in the day, at a news conference in Palm Beach County, DeSantis angrily denounced attempts to tie him and the Republican Party to the Nazi protesters. He said Florida law enforcement agencies were trying to determine who the demonstrators were because they violated state law by hanging banners from overpasses. “These Democrats who are trying to use this as some type of political issue, to try to smear me as if I had something to do with it. We are not playing their game,” DeSantis said.

Anti-semitism has been on the rise in America for the last several years, with Trump supporters marching in Charlottesville and other cities embracing Nazi culture. Nazi imagery was on vivid display during the January 6th Capitol riots, and Republican members of Congress have displayed anti-Semitic behavior and shared tropes on their social media accounts.

Twitter users angrily let Pushaw and others know how unacceptable it was to blame a Nazi protest on anything except the rise of Nazism in America.

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