White supremacists meet without incident

"Apparently hoping to draw a crowd to their annual remembrance of the death of white supremacist Robert Mathews, a group of his followers invited a nationally-known speaker to Greenbank Saturday.Mathews, the leader of The Order, died in an FBI-sparked house fire on Dec. 8, 1984 while engaging in a gunfight and standoff with law enforcement. Since then, large and small groups of white supremacists have visited annually the Smugglers Cove Road address where Mathews died.Saturday’s vigil attracted about 25 of his followers, according to the Island County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Matt Hale, the leader of the World Church of the Creator, the nation’s largest white supremacist organization. Hale reportedly spoke to the group in honor of the anniversary.Although the event was advertised on the National Socialist Vanguard’s web site for more than a month, the crowd was modest compared to those in past years.Island County Sheriff Mike Hawley said the Vanguard vigil took place in the public right-of-way on Smuggler’s Cove Road and was over by 3 p.m. He said his office knew when and where it was happening and was ready to respond if the event got rowdy, as it has in past years when it was held at the nearby state park. The park is now closed in December.Throughout the month, a number of human rights organizations called the sheriff’s office concerned about this year’s vigil. The Vanguard did not call the sheriff prior to the event as it has done in the past, Hawley said."

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