About a dozen people, waving Nazi flags and carrying antisemitic propaganda, gathered in front of a Georgia synagogue Saturday during services after being in other regions of the state the last few days, authorities said.
Cobb County Police Department Chief Stuart VanHoozer said the 11 protesters who arrived at the synagogue in Marietta, about 20 miles from Atlanta, are thought to be a small affiliation from various states across the country, VanHoozer said in a statement on Facebook Sunday.
“The Cobb County Police Department enjoys a strong relationship with, supports, and respects our Jewish community partners,” VanHoozer said in the statement. “CCPD has worked, and is working, directly with those affected in this case.”
The protesters were waving swastika flags and displaying antisemitic propaganda, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp condemned the demonstrations on Twitter Sunday.
“There is absolutely no place for this hate and antisemitism in our state,” Kemp said. “I share in the outrage over this shameful act and stand with Georgians everywhere in condemning it.”
Synagogue responds after demonstrations
In a statement on Facebook, the Chabad of Cobb, the synagogue where the demonstration took place, said Cobb County officials identified the individuals as part of a small group that travels around the country “to spread their hateful message.”
“These individuals do not represent the sentiments of the citizens of East Cobb,” the Chabad of Cobb said. “Let’s use this unfortunate incident to increase in acts of goodness and kindness, Jewish pride, and greater Jewish engagement.”
Similar demonstration in Macon, Georgia
On Friday, a group of 15 protesters yelling antisemitic messages gathered outside Temple Beth Israel in downtown Macon, the Associated Press reported.
“Yesterday we saw antisemitism on display in Macon, and now in metro Atlanta. This has got to stop.,” U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock tweeted Saturday. “Praying for our Jewish community in Georgia and beyond. We must all raise our voices loudly against this vile hate.”
In 2022, there were 192 antisemitic incidents reported in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League published in 2023. This was a 120% increase from the previous year.
In Georgia, there was a 63% rise in antisemitic incidents between 2021 and 2022.
Contributing: The Associated Press