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White supremacists interrupt Arkansas Holocaust remembrance event
A group of white supremacists in Arkansas interrupted a Holocaust remembrance event this week carrying Nazi flags and shouting racial slurs, local news reported Tuesday.
The Courier reported that demonstrators interrupted Sunday's March of Remembrance in Russellville, Ark., an event meant to honor survivors and those who were killed in the Holocaust.
"It made me feel terrible, it made me feel terrible for my friends. They were talking to us like we were pieces of nothing," Joyce Griffis, the event's organizer told KFSM.
Randy Cook, who concluded the event with prayer, according to The Courier, said the protests didn't reflect the Russellville community.
"It's just a few people stirring things up," he said. "Russellville is a wonderful community, and we've never had any trouble. They don't reflect Russellville at all."
Beryl Wolfson, a 96-year-old World War II veteran who saw the liberation of concentration camps, was slated to speak at the event.
"Never forget, because it could happen again, and I'm trying to get this out to the people so it won't happen again in any place," he told KFSM.
Billy Roper told The Courier that his group, Shield Wall Network, protested the event because of the controversy surrounding a scholarship at Arkansas Tech University that was named after the late professor Dr. Michael Link, who was accused by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and others of being a Holocaust denier.
"The rally that we held was a protest against the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), and Dr. Sarah Stein's attempts to intimidate and blackmail Arkansas Tech University into removing Dr. Michael Link's name from the scholarship he endowed," Roper told KFSM. Stein, who is Jewish, is a professor at Arkansas Tech.
The ADL wrote a letter last month that was signed by more than 40 scholars in Jewish studies urging Arkansas Tech University President Dr. Robin Bowen to no longer name the scholarship for Link. The university, in turn, said it found no evidence to support criticism of Link for making anti-Semitic comments in his work, the Arkansas Times reported in April.
Shield Wall Network reportedly held another demonstration in the City Mall parking lot after interrupting the march, according to The Courier.
Local authorities said no one was injured at the event.