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From the Archives: A protest at Nazi headquarters in El Monte

Jan. 30, 1972: Anti-Nazi protesters gather outside the National Socialist White People's Party headquarters in El Monte. During the protest, eggs, bottles and a wastebasket, shown circled in the above photograph, were thrown.
Jan. 30, 1972: Anti-Nazi protesters gather outside the National Socialist White People’s Party headquarters in El Monte. During the protest, eggs, bottles and a wastebasket, shown circled in the above photograph, were thrown.
(William S. Murphy / Los Angeles Times)

In 1966, following a long legal battle with the city of Glendale, the American Nazi Party moved its local headquarters to El Monte. For the next decade, El Monte tried various legal means to force the Nazis to leave — especially after a Jan. 30, 1972, protest outside the group’s headquarters.

Times staff writers Mike Castro and Al Martinez reported about the incident in the Jan. 31, 1972, Los Angeles Times:

An anti-Nazi demonstration in El Monte turned briefly violent Sunday in a crossfire of rocks and bottles that smashed windows and bloodied a policeman’s nose. Forty demonstrators were arrested as city officials and sheriff’s deputies swept through the crowd of about 1,000 persons outside the headquarters of the National Socialist White People’s Party at 4375 N. Peck Road.

The demonstration had been organized by a militant Jewish Defense League, but that group’s part in it was apparently brief.

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About 100 members of the JDL met in Lambert Park, a block away from the two-story headquarters of Storm Troop 5, marched in front of the building, regrouped at the park and then dispersed.

There was no indication they participated in the melee that followed.

The crowd, however, stayed on for at least a six-hour period that required the presence of about 100 law enforcement officers.

Jan. 30, 1972: Members of the National Socialist White People's Party stand outside their El Monte headquarters during an anti-Nazi protest by about 1,000 demonstrators.
(William S. Murphy / Los Angeles Times )
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It was after the JDL march-by that the rock- and bottle-throwing began from both the crowd and the uniformed Nazis. One policeman suffered a bloody nose when he was hit by a bottle.

Eggs also were thrown, and at one point, a cherry bomb and firecrackers exploded.

Twenty Nazis, some with rifles, were lined up inside a fence around their swastika-emblazoned headquarters.

Joe Tommasi, leader of the Los Angeles and Orange County chapters of the party, said the battle plan had been to hold off the crowd along the fence, then retreat into the building and shoot whoever tried to breach their headquarters.

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Police made five sweeps of the crowd, during which 38 persons were arrested for disturbing the peace and failure to disperse after the demonstration had been declared an unlawful assembly. Two others were arrested for felonious assault, police said.

A June 17, 1976, Los Angeles Times story reported that the Nazi Party was selling its El Monte building “that has been its Los Angeles area headquarters since 1966 and moving elsewhere.”

The 1976 story suggested that the Nazi group was moving to Pasadena, but there are no follow-up stories in The Times archives to indicate such a move ever occurred.

Jan. 30, 1972: Police move in to quell the disturbance when a crowd of 1,000 protesters began hurling bottles and other objects at the National Socialist White People's Party headquarters in El Monte.
(William S. Murphy / Los Angeles Times )
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Jan. 30, 1972: An anti-Nazi demonstrator is arrested outside the National Socialist White People's Party headquarters in El Monte. Forty protesters were arrested.
(William S. Murphy / Los Angeles Times )
January 1972: The National Socialist White People's Party moved its headquarters to El Monte in 1966. This photo appeared in the Jan. 13, 1972, Los Angeles Times.
(Mike Castro / Los Angeles Times )

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here


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