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Few problems expected at Aryan Nations meeting • Saturday June 21, 2003

Idaho Statesman, June 21, 2003

ATHOL Law enforcement agencies anticipate few problems when the white supremacist organization Aryan Nations holds its annual world congress this weekend in a north Idaho state park.

Kootenai County sheriffs Capt. Ben Wolfinger said law enforcement officers will keep watch at Farragut State Park, but dont expect any disturbances.

Well keep an eye on things and make sure it doesnt get out of hand, he said Friday. As long as they stay mellow, we shouldnt have any problems.

Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler, 85, said he expects 100 to 200 participants at the event, which will feature several speakers and neo-Nazi skinhead rock bands.

The group, which lost its north Idaho headquarters in a civil-rights lawsuit, will meet with other white supremacist groups at the park on Lake Pend Oreille through Sunday. The group had planned to march through downtown Coeur dAlene, but other groups already had bought permits for parades on the same dates this summer.

The Aryan Nations has hosted the event for the past two decades, but a $6 million civil lawsuit in 2000 by the Southern Poverty Law Center caused the group to lose its 20-acre compound near Hayden Lake. The compound was razed in May 2001. The Aryans march in downtown Coeur dAlene was canceled in 2002 because the group didnt have enough money to pay a parade fee.

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