Neo-Nazi march in Ohio sparks rioting


The Associated Press

TOLEDO, Ohio- A crowd that gathered to protest a neo-Nazi march in Toledo yesterday turned violent, throwing baseball-sized rocks at police, vandalizing vehicles and stores and setting fire to a neighbourhood bar, authorities said.

Mayor Jack Ford blamed the rioting on gang members taking advantage of a volatile situation. He said he was declaring a state of emergency and setting an 8 p.m. curfew. He also asked the Ohio Highway Patrol for help.

"It's exactly what they wanted," Ford said of the group that planned the march, which was called off because of the rioting.

At least two dozen members of the National Socialist Movement, which calls itself "America's Nazi party," gathered at a city park before noon and were to march under police protection. Organizers said they were demonstrating against black gangs they said were harassing white residents.

Violence broke out about 400 metres along the planned route.

About 150 police officers in helicopters, on horses and on foot chased bands of youths throughout the afternoon. Officers fired tear gas canisters and flash-bang devices designed to stun suspects, only to see groups reappear and resume throwing rocks. A group pounded on a convenience store and overturned vehicles. A fire was set in a nearby bar. At least 65 people were arrested.

Police Chief Mike Navarre said officers had a report of a man shot in the area but they had not found a victim. No other injuries had been reported, Navarre said.

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