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South Plainfield mayor addresses residents' concerns after white supremacist group shows up at Labor Day parade

Local NJ leaders denounce white supremacist group at Labor Day parade
Local NJ leaders denounce white supremacist group at Labor Day parade 02:05

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. -- The South Plainfield City Council held an emergency meeting Tuesday night after a white supremacist group showed up at the borough's Labor Day parade.

As CBS2's Alecia Reid reports, the Labor Day tradition was tarnished Monday when the New Jersey European Heritage Association, recognized by the Anti-Defamation League as a white supremacist group, showed up on the route.

In a video, group members can be seen carrying a banner reading, "Defend American labor, close the border," alongside others carrying the Betsy Ross flag.

At Tuesday night's meeting, South Plainfield Mayor Matthew Anesh said the group was not an official participant and members tried injecting themselves along the parade route. Police were able to immediately escort them away.

"None of us condoned this group, believe in what they believe in or welcome them to this parade or the community," he said.

The video of the incident was posted to Twitter by One People's Project, an organization that aims to combat racist groups.

"It turns out that they tried to inject themselves in the main parade and they did not. They were stopped. And they were basically pushed maybe three or four blocks away from the main parade," said Daryle Lamont Jenkins, with One People's Project.

Even people from outside South Plainfield showed up to Tuesday's meeting with concerns.

"Their main intention has always been to spew hate, right, but it's always been to be dehumanized, right? To dehumanize us for who we are collectively, as individuals," said Kason Little, with Black Lives Matter, Elizabeth.

Some residents say they want to cut the effort short. James Dabrowski, with the NAACP's Perth Amboy brach, drove 30 minutes to join the conversation.

"I think it's also important not to only be reactive, but proactive, and invest in anti-racism education," he said.

Anesh says no hate group will ever be welcome in their community.

Members from the New Jersey European Heritage Association are not facing any criminal charges.

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