A brawl broke out at the Minneapolis Institute of Art over the weekend between a group of activists and a group of alleged neo-Nazis, the Star Tribune reported. The activists, associated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union were protesting outside the museum in opposition to anti-immigrant policies and sentiment in the U.S.
According to the report, activists followed a group of three neo-Nazis, who entered the museum, all the way to the third floor to an exhibition of 18th century European art, which the group of white nationalists had reportedly come to “guard.”
Jon Jacobsen, a witness, told City Pages that outside the museum, one man repeatedly called out “Heil Trump!” with his arm in a Nazi salute, getting the demonstrators’ attention. He said the act prompted him to then take out his phone and start recording.
Jacobsen shared the video on Facebook, writing, “Nazi scum started yelling ‘heil trump’ out side (sic) of MIA where some sort of neo nazi meeting is taking place today. Cops stepped in before the crowd gathered to protest could kick his a**.”
Another witness wrote on Twitter that the group of neo-Nazis arrived at the classical European art display to “guard” it. City Pages reported that the European art was located near a “protest-themed exhibit with photos of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.”
Once the group entered the building to “guard” the (white) European art display, they were followed by anti-fascist protesters and an altercation ensued to include a “shoving match” with some “punches thrown.” A museum spokesperson said at least one of the neo-Nazis was attacked but did not press charges.
The witness who reported the events on Twitter noted, “‘Anti-Fascists’ wearing all-black counter-protested with some punches thrown and brawling VS neo-Nazis *in the museum.*” They added that the group of neo-Nazis appeared to be affiliated with Identity Evropa, a white nationalist, fascist group that was founded in March 2016 by Nathan Damigo.
Damigo, a veteran, formed the group for people of “European, non-Semitic heritage” after reading the work of former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
According to City Pages, no arrests were made and there were no reported injuries resulting from the altercation.