A white supremacist group is planning a rally on Dec. 6 in Ballard, Washington, according to reports on the racist website Stormfront.org.
According to the Ballard News-Tribune, the rally is expected to attract at least 300 members of the Northwest Hammerskins — a white supremacist hate group with chapters in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and North Dakota.
The rally is an annual event known as “Martyr’s Day,” and the News-Tribune said that plans for the event include “a traditional cross burning and performances by white power bands.”
Martyr’s Day honors Robert J. Mathews, a founder of the far-right terrorist group “The Order.” Mathews was killed in a standoff with the FBI on Whidbey Island in 1984.
The Stormfront announcement said that the exact address of the rally would not be revealed until the day of the celebration for security reasons, but promised that the gathering would include “comraderie(sic), music, hailing our heroes and good ol’ goosestepping.”
“This will be the biggest event in NW history as of yet so let’s put the beautiful Pacific Northwest back on the map and make Robert Mathews proud!” the post said.
Sydney Brownstone at Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger explained that the Hammerskins gather every year for Martyr’s Day, generally on the first Saturday of December.
“According to the SPLC, last December local racists from the Northwestern Hammerskins celebrated ‘Martyrs Day’ on Whidbey Island. About 36 of them showed up to honor the fiery death of Robert J. Mathews, a founding member of a white terrorist group called ‘The Order,’ which murdered Jewish radio host Alan Berg in 1984. Mathews died the same year,” Brownstone wrote.
He went on to caution that the rally’s purported organizers have yet to confirm the gathering and Seattle Police Department denies any knowledge that any such event is slated for the weekend of the 6th.
The original Stormfront post has been taken down, but the SPD say that they are still investigating its legitimacy.
However, David Neiwert of the SPLC told the Stranger, “This very much looks like a real thing to me.” Stormfront accounts are hard to hack, Neiwert said, and the Hammerskins are “well-known for being real hotbeds of the most vicious kind of hate and violence that comes out of the far right.”
When asked why the neo-Nazi group would choose to march openly this year after spending so many years undercover, Neiwert said, “Normally they’ve kind of hidden from view, but it’s becoming pretty obvious that white supremacists are feeling a lot bolder. After all they have a presidential candidate, obviously. I think they are feeling a lot more emboldened these days.”