Idaho Stateman, Mar. 13, 2003
COEUR D´ALENE — Once thought to be nearly extinguished in North Idaho, the Aryan Nations is planning a march through downtown Coeur d´Alene and a skinhead concert in June.
Founder Richard Butler, 85, will host the annual Aryan Nations World Congress at Farragut State Park north of here from June 20 to 22, he said Tuesday.
Aryan Nations also will seek a permit to march through downtown the same weekend, if enough people show up for the congress, Butler said.
“It´s going to be bigger and better than ever,” said Butler, who in recent years has battled failing health, bankruptcy and loss of his property in a lawsuit, and the splintering of his neo-Nazi organization.
For human rights activists, the news is a sign that the much ballyhooed end of the hate group´s activities in northern Idaho was premature.
The June events are intended “to show our enemies that we have not left North Idaho,” Butler said.
They include people from the White Aryan Resistance, the National Alliance and the Ku Klux Klan.
The annual congress for two decades has been a gathering spot for some of the most notorious hate activists in the nation.
It was not held last year because of the group´s difficulties.
Past marches through downtown Coeur d´Alene have attracted far more protesters than white supremacists.
However, they have succeeded in drawing negative attention to an area heavily dependent on tourism.
Butler has been increasingly active recently.
That civil rights group litigated the lawsuit responsible for bankrupting Aryan Nations in 2000 and forcing the group to sell its 20-acre compound near Hayden Lake.