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Home / International News / 2009 / January 2009 / January 17, 2009
White supremacists under the scanner ahead of Obama swearing-in
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White supremacists under the scanner ahead of Obama swearing-in

White supremacists across the United States are closely being watched by hate crimes experts and law enforcement officials as Barack Obama prepares to be sworn in as the first Black president of the United States next week.


Washington, Jan 17 : White supremacists across the United States are closely being watched by hate crimes experts and law enforcement officials as Barack Obama prepares to be sworn in as the first Black president of the United States next week.

So far, there is no known organized effort to express opposition to Obama's rise to the presidency -- other than a call by the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan for its members to wear black armbands and fly the US flag upside down on Inauguration Day and Obama's first full day in office, the Daily News reported.

"The level of vitriol, I expect, will go up a bit more around inauguration time," said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino.

There "is concern" about White supremacist groups during the inauguration, said Joe Persichini, the assistant FBI director who is helping to oversee security during the inauguration.

The inauguration of the nation's first minority president increases any potential threat, "particularly stemming from individuals on the extremist fringe of the white supremacist movement," said a recent intelligence assessment by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.

But law enforcement has the appropriate resources to respond if needed, Persichini said. "We have seen a lot of chatter. We have seen a lot of discussions," he said.

"We have seen some information via the Internet. But those are discussions. We look at the vulnerabilities and whether or not the groups are taking action. You have freedom of speech," he added.

Anger, violence and interest in racist ideology did increase in the hours and days after Obama was elected president in November, hate groups experts said.

Three New York men were indicted on charges of conspiracy to interfere with voting rights -- accused of targeting and attacking African-Americans in a brutal crime spree soon after Obama was declared the winner on November 4.

ANI

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