New footage has emerged of neo-Nazis waving swastikas, giving fascist salutes and chanting “Sieg Heil” on a bridge in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday.
Around 40 demonstrators, nearly all wearing masks along with red shirts and black pants, are seen lined up along a bridge over the I-4 Express in Altamonte Springs, a northern suburb of Orlando.
Neo-Nazis have held a number of demonstrations in Florida this year, with targets including a synagogue and Disney World. Florida has become a central focus of the so-called “culture wars,” with the state’s Governor Ron DeSantis targeting what he terms “woke indoctrination” though he has also condemned neo-Nazi protesters as “jackasses.”
The latest footage from Saturday’s bridge demonstration was shared on X, formerly Twitter, by Doug Aoki from Edmonton, Canada, who says he is dedicated to “battling fascism.”
He shared the 13-second clip on Thursday with the caption: “Florida.” The video received more than 332,000 views from his account, plus another 1.3 million views after being shared by the ‘Republicans against Trump’ account which commented: “I never thought I’d see these images in Florida in 2023. Sickening and frightening.”
Saturday’s protesters included Christopher Pohlhaus, leader of the neo-Nazi group Black Tribe, and Jon Minadeo II, founder of the antisemitic Goyim Defense League (GDL). Some of the demonstrators had the number ’88’ on the back of their shirts, a neo-Nazi code meaning ‘Heil Hitler,’ in reference to the eighth letter of the alphabet.
At one point, the demonstrators were filmed by Laura Loomer, a Jewish conservative activist and supporter of Donald Trump, whom they targeted with antisemitic and homophobic slurs.
Speaking to Newsweek, Liora Rez, executive director of the non-profit racism watchdog StopAntisemitism, branded the attendees “cowards.”
She said: “Members of the GDL are dangerous criminals with records of assault, pedophilia, arson, and domestic abuse.
“The collaboration between the white supremacist groups GDL and Blood Tribe is not surprising: birds of a feather flock together. The joint event created a larger-than-normal crowd meant to be an intimidation tactic. These neo-Nazis are cowards who cover their faces while making the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute.”
On Monday, an Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson commented: “We know these groups demonstrate in high-profile areas in order to agitate and incite people with antisemitic symbols and slurs. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office deplores hate speech in any form, but people have the First Amendment right to demonstrate.
“What these groups do is revolting and condemned in the strongest way by Sheriff Mina and the Sheriff’s Office. They are looking for attention, and specifically media attention.”
On August 26, three people were shot dead inside a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida, by a masked man who had a swastika painted on his gun. After the attack, which was described as “racially motivated” by Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters, the attacker shot himself dead.