WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Controversy has been swirling around Northcentral Pennsylvania for months now as one of the largest neo-nazi groups in the nation plans on making their way into Lycoming County. Their original planned visit got shut down due to COVID-19.
“We’re all in this together hang in there,” said Chief Damon Hagan with the Williamsport Police.
Back in March, the National Socialist Movement announced they would be holding a rally in Williamsport at the end of April.
However, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Derek Slaughter issued a proclamation of no social gathering of 50 people allowed in city parks or city streets.
Now, the neo-nazis have requested a new permit to come rally at Brandon Park in July.
“We don’t know what the status of the city or frankly the entire country will be in July or the middle of July so at this time that permit is under review for that reason,” said Chief Hagan.
Chief Hagan says any event planned for the summer is going to be under review. This is based on what the standards will be for that particular time concerning COVID-19.
Local leaders add they will get guidance from on the state and federal levels. Regardless, some community members are on edge.
“I don’t like it at all and I don’t know if anybody can stop it and I just, I’m really uncomfortable about it. I really don’t think this should happen. I think it’s a crime to have these people here and I get so emotional thinking about it. I’m shaking inside and it frightens me a lot,” said one park goer.
Just a few months ago, Mayor Derek Slaughter proposed, as an alternative idea, to hold a peace rally on the same day. Some park goers say that’s not a bad idea.
“Instead of acknowledging them, but the acknowledgment of the peace rally and have a nicer time over there,” said Wesley Brown of Williamsport.
As of now, the rally is scheduled for July 18th.