Members of the National Socialist Movement -- and their protesters -- take over the tiny town of Leith.
The National Socialist Movement joins infamous Leith resident, Craig Cobb, to scope out property and clarify -- in town hall fashion -- their intentions. They say they're not white supremacists. Rather, they call themselves white civil rights activists. Hundreds of protesters, however, disagree.
"The people of Leith do not want you here." Protesters from around the state speak out, but representatives of the National Socialist Movement are not deterred. They say Leith resident, Craig Cobb, has a right to stay despite protests against his pro-white message. "The National Socialist Movement is a white civil rights organization. We represent the interests of white people. The blacks have the NAACP to represent black interests. You have La Raza representing Mexican interests. All the different racial groups have their own," says Jeff Schoep, Commander, National Socialist Movement. When asked for the definition of "white," he says it means "pure white" -- "of European descent."
Commander" Schoep as he's known in the National Socialist Movement, insists theirs is a non-violent organization to promote the interests of white people. Not everyone is hearing it. "As humans, they can be wherever they want to be, but they're representing hate, and I have bi-racial babies and they're hating what I brought out of love, and ya know, love has no color," says protestor Christine Yellowbird.
The National Socialist Movement says they intend to assume legal control of the local government, but insist they don't want to exile anyone. "We do want to bring people in, but our idea is not to throw anybody out. You can't do that in America," says Schoep.
Still, Bobby Harper, an African American Leith resident, says they do: "I do not appreciate nobody coming into my home telling me that I'm not going to be welcome and they're going to try and run me out. I was here first."
The National Socialist Movement recognizes their beliefs aren't welcomed by everyone, but says not everyone disagrees either, because, he says, they're not white supremacists. Rather, they're white civil rights activists -- this, in spite of hanging several flags with swastikas on them.
"A lot of people are afraid to come up and talk to us. We had a few people come up and speak with us and we've got a few dozen of our people around here, as well, and around the town," says Schoep. He says their political agenda, including closed borders and pro-environmentalism, appeals to many.
Of the entire controversy, the person who started it all, Craig Cobb, says "of course, we want our people here. And they will come."
National Socialist Movement Commander Schoep earlier announced he would be in North Dakota through tomorrow, but declined to share with KX News his schedule. However, a press release provided earlier says plans include Schoep and Cobb traveling to oil country to assist young followers in finding jobs there.
The Grant County Sheriff Department estimates around 350 people showed up for the town hall meeting -- and to protest it -- in Leith today.
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