A small group of neo-Nazis gathered in Augusta on Saturday afternoon to demonstrate on the steps of the State House and outside the governor’s house.

Sgt. Donald Whitten of the Augusta Police Department said the demonstration did not prompt confrontations or arrests. Officers monitored the group of 25 to 30 people but did not make contact with them because they did not observe criminal activity, he said. The participants did not appear to carry weapons; a caller reported that one person was carrying a crowbar, but officers who monitored the event said it was a selfie stick. The demonstrators walked the streets near the State House, Whitten said, but they obeyed the crosswalks and did not block traffic.

The department also notified Maine State Police and Capitol Police of the demonstration, but it dispersed after less than an hour.

“We didn’t make contact with anyone,” Whitten said. “We didn’t need to.”

Whitten said the group was quiet as they walked on the sidewalk, but one passerby shared a video of the marchers loudly chanting, “Refugees, go home” as they passed the Blaine House.

A recent investigation by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram revealed that white nationalist groups are increasing their presence in Maine, a trend underscored by the scene in the state’s capital. Experts said ignoring this growth would be a mistake.


Lance Tapley, 78, was driving through the roundabout not far from the Blaine House on Saturday afternoon when he spotted the group. He described the gathering as 30 or so people in black masks and shirts, and he said they were carrying a banner that said: “Keep New England, White.” He followed the group to take photos and video, and he said they stopped on the steps in front of the State House to do a Nazi salute.

Tapley, who lives in Hallowell and is a freelance journalist, approached a man whom he took to be the group’s leader. That person did not identify himself or want to talk, Tapley said, but he did identify the group as part of the hate group NSC-131 and gave him a racist flyer.

Tapley said he found their presence to be shocking and depressing.

“It is definitely something that made me think, ‘My God, is this growing?’” he said.

Shannon Moss, a spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Capitol Police and Augusta police learned of the demonstration at 3:24 p.m. Saturday.

“The demonstration was peaceful and there was no damage to any state or city property,” she said.

It is not clear if Gov. Janet Mills was at the Blaine House at the time of the demonstration, and her office did not respond to an email Saturday evening.

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