Rallies In Lincoln
It was a tale of two rallies in the Capital City Saturday. A controversial Neo-Nazi rally on the steps of the Capitol drew hundreds of protesters… And across town, a counter-rally celebrating diversity drew over a thousand Nebraskans to Pioneers Park. While members of the National Socialist Movement promoted a message of 'white power' at the Capitol, celebrating diversity was the theme of the day at Pioneers Park.
For nearly two hours, Neo-Nazi supporters yelled back and forth with the large group that gathered to protest their rally. Gerhard Lauck say, “If you are white and you stand up for your race they call you a hater.” Lincoln Police were prepared for the heated exchanges, and security was very tight and very visible… With nearly 250 officers on site. Most of the crowd did not agree with the group's message of white unity. In fact, far more people showed up to protest the group than to support it. Some carried signs and others chanted… But all were clear in their oposition to the Neo-Nazis' beliefs. Linda Gibson was there to protest the rally. “I'm not with any of the groups or organizations. I just made my sign, just for myself, to say I don't like it.”
At the same time, a very different kind of rally with a very different mood was taking place in Pioneers Park. Over a thousand Nebraskans turned out for the “No Place for Hate” rally, which organizers say was meant to show that the Neo-Nazis did not represent the people of Lincoln. Susan Scott helped organize the diversity rally. “Lincoln, which is a very diverse city, wanted to show we embrace diversity so we brought everybody together to have a party at the same time the other folks are down at the Capitol.” The message at this rally was one of inclusiveness and tolerance… A message which Lincoln resident Robrenna Redl hoped would rub off on her daughter Savannah. “I hope that she does see the diversity and as she grows up that she sees this as normal and how it should be.” Lincoln police went through a lot of preparation for Saturday's rallies, and it appears to have been worth it. There was no significant violence, and there were no reported injuries.