Racist trolls say they won’t march but Princeton still has to close streets
PRINCETON — A march by a tiny band of white supremacist provocateurs won't happen after all.
After days of hyping their planned demonstration in downtown Princeton, which led to police deciding to close the streets around the university town's shopping and dining center in anticipation of commotion, the group said Friday that their plan had been a hoax all along.
"You’ve been punk’d," the group called the NJ European Association said on its Twitter account with 20 followers.
Nevertheless, police still planned to close Palmer Square to traffic beginning 9 a.m. just to be safe.
Chief Nick Sutter said Friday evening that they never expected many white supremacists because the last time the same group made a scene in town there were only six of them on the sidewalk. But Sutter said police this time had anticipated far more counter-demonstrators.
Because no group applied for a permit to demonstrate, authorities have no way of knowing how many people may descend on Palmer Square.
Sutter said police will make the determination whether to reopen streets to vehicles based on what they see Saturday.
The group's Twitter message said their goal had been to get media attention and prove that "phony privileged limousine liberals" oppose free speech.
The group relies on a straw-man slogan often employed by white supremacist groups: "It's Okay to be White."
Writing in The Guardian after the Australian parliament narrowly defeated a motion endorsing that slogan, Jason Wilson said bigoted groups use that phrase to lie, sow confusion and hide their intentions "in order to mainstream its messages."
In Central Jersey, news of the planned march brought condemnations from Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, Assemblymen Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman — both Democrats who represent Princeton's legislative district — and U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J. 12th District.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.