The U.S. based National Socialist Movement has held a swastika burning after a rally in Georgia.

(Daily Mail)

Members of the National Socialist Movement, one of the largest NS groups in the US, gathered in a field to torch the wooden swastikas in a ceremony reminiscent of similar acts by other white rights groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.

Saturday's swastika burning took place several hours after a rally in Newnan, George, which passed off without violence despite the presence of hundreds of armed antifa protesters.

The town, which is about 40 miles west of the state's capital, permitted the National Socialist Movement to host a rally from 3 to 5pm on Saturday to celebrate Adolph Hitler's birthday.

After a delay, members of the NSM rallied briefly in Greenville Street Park with fences and armed police separating them from protesters before disbanding at 5pm.

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The group claimed in speeches about immigration and foreign and domestic policy that they are 'fighting for a better tomorrow'.

An estimated 400 law enforcement officers arrived early for the event to barricade the streets where the rally was held. Cops made at least 10 arrests during the day, many of them antifa who refused to take their masks off.

County records show two arrests on Saturday for wearing masks in public, as well as three for obstructing a peace officer, one for blocking a highway, and one for disorderly conduct.

The other arrests in Coweta county on Saturday were for theft, drug and probation violation charges, and it wasn't immediately clear whether they were related to the protests.

The Atlanta Antifa and other counter-protesters organized their own rally to start earlier in Newnan to outnumber the white nationalist group and challenge their beliefs.

Anti-fascist members were seen armed with guns, masks and signs in protest, with several of them being taken into custody.

Early footage from the counter-protest before the white nationalist rally shows antifa getting arrested after they refused to take off their masks.

Citizens are allowed to carry a weapon in public under Georgia law, but they are not allowed to wear a mask.

According to Georgia law, a person is guilty of a misdemeanor if they wear a mask, hood or any other device to conceal their face. This law was passed in 1951 by the state as a measure to help unmask members of the Ku Klux Klan.

These counter-protesters arrived in the town to object the group's ability to host a rally about their patriotic beliefs.

'The City of Newnan has a responsibility to protect free speech rights, the individuals and groups that chose to exercise those rights and the broader community in which those rights may be exercised,' the city said in a statement earlier this week.

One member of the organization, Burt Colucci, told Atlanta Journal-Constitution before the rally that it was within the group's First Amendment right to talk about these racial issues, including illegal immigration.

The National Socialist Movement obtained a permit for the demonstration last month and the event has since sparked counter-protesters to organize their own rally.

The extra safety measures the city has implemented include road closures and more law enforcement staff available during the demonstration, which will be held in Newnan's Greenville State Park.

In response to the National Socialist demonstration, Atlanta's Antifa and other counter-protesters began gathering in Newnan starting around 1.30pm.

Another group called the No Nazi Newnan coalition has chastised the city for allowing the white people to rally in the first place.

In a press release Tuesday afternoon, the coalition stated that 'city of Newnan authorities have lectured their residents about not protesting the National Socialist Movement', the Newnan Times-Herald reports.

But members of the coalition disagree with about not counter-protesting because they believe 'turning a blind eye' is not going to stop 'bigotry, hatred or violence.'

'What is needed is a large-scale display of unity and community vigilance against organized white supremacists,' the statement said.

Most businesses have shutdown amid the demonstrations and residents are worried that the antifa protests could turn violent.




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