Supremacist meeting ends without incident

MISSOULA (AP) — Bumped from their original meeting spot, a group of white supremacists camped in the Lolo National Forest this weekend without incident, authorities said Sunday.
‘‘We had no run-ins, no conflicts with anyone,” Sanders County Undersheriff Rube Wrightsman said. ‘‘They packed up and left early this afternoon. We heard they planned a cross-lighting Saturday night, but they didn’t go through with it.”

The Church of the True Israel had planned to meet on private property near St. Regis, but the landowner revoked his offer after learning of the group’s beliefs. Authorities said the man thought they were a church group.

The group later received a permit to stay at a U.S. Forest Service campground about 13 miles from St. Regis on Montana 135.

Wrightsman said about 30 people, including several children, attended. The group originally told authorities they expected up to 200 people.

Local, state and federal officials monitored the gathering. No protesters were reported, Missoula County Sheriff Mike McMeekin said.

The Church of the True Israel is a relatively new branch-off of Richard Butler’s Aryan Nation organization in Idaho, Wrightsman said.

This weekend’s meeting was to be its first large gathering.

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Associated Press, USA
July 19, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday July 20, 2004.
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