Police Positioning At Rally Questioned by Some

By KBJR News 1

March 5, 2012 Updated Mar 5, 2012 at 7:09 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -Members of the SWA and anti rally protesters clashed on the steps of city hall as the white nationalists attempted to voice their opposition to the UnFair campaigns message.

Saturday morning around five members of the Supreme White Alliance made their way up the steps of city hall amid shoving and yelling from anti- rally protesters.

While SWA members say they were able to give their speech, few were able to hear it amid the jeering and shouts from others on scene.

Police officers situated themselves behind the SWA members, a position being questioned by some but praised by others.

"In the aspect of keeping the peace and keeping both fractions about and getting our message out so that people could possibly hear what was going on...they failed miserably. Never in my life have I been at a rally like this where the police stood behind," said Robert Hester with the SWA.

Those who were at city hall protesting the SWA say they feel the police were perfectly fine where they were.

"Members of our side were arrested for what could have been construed as a threatening situation; Nazis weren't. But at the same time Duluth Police didn't separate them from us, they held their feet to the flame and for that and I give the police department credit for that," said Tyler Nord with Occupy Duluth.

We did reach out to the Duluth Police Department for comment as to why they positioned officers the way they did but they declined to comment.

As for what happens next, the Duluth Police Department say they will do what they do whenever there is an event of significance.

Duluth Police Department spokespeople say they will take a look at what was done, go through a debriefing, and learn from how it was handled to find out what can be done better in the future.

Written for the web by Elayne Crecelius
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