Originally published by: WTOL 11
TOLEDO, Ohio — Content warning: The below article describes and pictures antisemitic hate symbols and LGBTQIA+ hate which some viewers may find disturbing.
A group of neo-Nazis appeared at a Toledo LGBTQ+ event Saturday night to "harass" attendees, according to multiple organizations.
Equality Toledo and the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo released statements Monday condemning their presence. Both organizations said the neo-Nazis were masked, carried tiki torches and also appeared at the Jewish Toledo campus in Sylvania "to harass Jews."
Equality Toledo hosted Love Fest Saturday night in downtown Toledo.
Photos and video, submitted by a viewer who wished to remain anonymous, show the group wearing symbols associated with a neo-Nazi group while demonstrating on Adams Street. In the videos, the group chanted and displayed hate symbols.
In one video, a member of the group can be seen open-carrying two firearms and wearing tactical gear.
Other members appeared to be open carrying weapons as well.
"Equality Toledo unequivocally condemns these acts of hate and white supremacy," Deputy Director Brent Rabie said in a statement. "Nazis and hate groups are getting bolder, as we saw in Wadsworth, Ohio, in March and Columbus in December 2022. We are stronger than hate, and we are united with our partners in the Jewish community, refusing to be silent in the face of baseless hatred.
"We know that white supremacy and anti-LGBTQ+ ideology have a long history of working together to attack our communities. When one marginalized community is targeted, we are all targeted. When one community is dehumanized, we all lose our humanity."
"The Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo unequivocally condemns these acts of hate meant to instill fear in our hearts and minds," a statement attributed to several executives read. "We are stronger than hate. We are united with our partners in the LGBTQ+ community, refusing to be silent in the face of baseless hatred.
"We know all too well from recent memory that this virus spreads like a cancer and affects us all. As Elie Wiesel said, 'We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.'"
Both organizations thanked area law enforcement for their response and support.
In response to a request for a report of the incident, Toledo police told WTOL 11 no report had been made. According to police, the group arrived and protested for approximately 10 to 15 minutes and then left. Police made mention of the first amendment right to peacefully assemble and express beliefs.
Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz also released a statement condemning the Nazis:
"When a group of Nazis showed up in Toledo last Saturday, Toledo responded exactly how you’d expect; by drowning out hate with love, anger with joy, and yelling with singing and dancing. It took less than 15 minutes for these Nazis to learn what we already know to be true: hate has no place in Toledo. We are proud to stand beside our LGBTQ+ neighbors, our Jewish neighbors, and our Black, Muslim, Asian, and Disabled neighbors, and we refuse to be silent in the face of white supremacy. Thank you to our Toledo Police Department officers who responded swiftly to prevent escalation and keep our neighbors safe."