Neo-Nazi Group Expected In Boise Area This Weekend

Oct 2, 2012

Poster announcing white supremacist music festival.

Boise Police remain on alert for details about a Neo-Nazi music festival scheduled for this Saturday. Hammerfest is the annual gathering for members of the Hammerskin Nation, a national white supremacist federation.  

Saturday’s Hammerfest will mark the twenty-fifth gathering of its kind. The event is part recruiting tool and part showcase of Neo-Nazi bands.

Although the exact location of the gathering is unknown, online posters show it will occur in Boise.

"What this suggests is that there is a budding if not fully developed Hammerskin chapter actually in or very near Boise,” says Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Center monitors white supremacist activity. Potok says the Hammerskins are feared by other skinhead groups.  The Center has seen a surge in membership and dominance in the last few years, which follows a larger national pattern.

“We’ve seen an enormous growth in hate groups really since the appearance of Barack Obama on the political scene in the fall of 2008," Potok says. "Obama of course, our first black president, in the minds of many of these groups represents a kind of demographic change that is occurring in the United States.  And that change of course is the loss of a white majority.”

Potok says that the Hammerskins are notoriously secretive and violent.  “This is the kind of group that sometimes, if it finds someone has actually tattooed the symbol of Hammerskin Nation or one of the Hammerskin smaller groups on their arm without permission of the group, they may come after you with a razor blade and cut that tattoo off.”

The Wisconsin gunman who killed six people at a Sikh Temple in August was a member of the group.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio