Repeated protests by those against Drag Queen Story Time in Fall River will not detour the group who organizes them. In fact, the opposition has appeared to garner more support for the event.
On the morning of December 10th, members of Nationalist Social Club, also known as NSC-131, were outside of the Fall River Public Library on North Main Street protesting Drag Queen Story Time being put on by the Fall River Pride Committee.
According to witnesses, the large group was hurling slurs at those attending and trying to stop people from being present at the story time in the library. Fall River Police also responded to the scene.
It isn’t the first time there have been protests at the event that has been taking place monthly as of late and also a handful of times before the recent string. It was, however, the most violent and the loudest vocal objection.
Photo courtesy of Angel DaCosta
Fall River Reporter asked Mayor Paul Coogan for comment on what transpired on December 10th, and he released a statement shortly after.
“Well, this weekend was full of highs and lows- holiday lights and an illegal mattress dumping, student musicals and a tense situation at the Fall River Public Library on Saturday. This weekend, a group of protestors, who are not from Fall River, traveled here to disturb an event.
“First, I want to thank the Fall River Police Department for handling the situation on the ground and ensuring the safety of our residents. Second, I want to openly and simply condemn the messages that were being shared by the protestors outside of the library. Countless men and women fought bravely in World War II and other conflicts AGAINST the very values those protestors spoke of. Fall River is a diverse city, and I believe we’ve always been better because of that.
“While we do have to respect everyone’s right to protest and use free speech, I feel sick knowing that these individuals- who are not members of our community- came here only to cause chaos and disruption. I think that respectful conversations on different opinions is a good thing, but that is not what this was.
“I have had residents reach out to me because they are upset that the library, a place they love and grew up in, was the home for such a display. I agree- no child going into our library, for any reason or event, should have to witness the hostility, hate and vulgar language that protestors showed this Saturday. To the families, hardworking library staff and event planners who had to deal with the protestors, I am truly sorry.
“Going forward, we will work with the organizers, the library and our public safety officials to keep everyone safe if protestors return. No matter what, we will continue to practice tolerance, respect and love for our neighbors here in Fall River.”
Sean Connell, who heads the Fall River Pride Committee, and supporters of the group, are condemning the December 10th incident and has recently asked those who believe the story time should continue to attend the next story time next month.
“On Saturday, December 10, there was an attempt to disrupt our Drag Queen Story Time. Neo-Nazi group NSC-131 attacked our event volunteers and shouted antisemitic and anti-queer slurs and slogans, while the fascist, misogynistic Proud Boys brought an anti-queer banner and shouted to the other side of the building. This makes the second time in two months that fascist groups have attempted (unsuccessfully) to disrupt the story time, but we are not powerless to protect ourselves. For our next Drag Queen Story Time, please join us in coming together to show your support for the performers, the families, and the library, with a demonstration of solidarity outside the library. There is safety in numbers – and it’s more fun, too! Show up to support on Saturday, January 14! Bring friends, signs, decorations, and plenty of water. Dress for the weather and public health conditions (hats, warm layers, a non-cotton base layer, masks). There will be music!”
If social media is an indicator, support has increased for the Fall River Pride Committee since the large protest.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, “the Nationalist Social Club (NSC) or 131 Crew (131 is alphanumeric code for ACA, Anti-Communist Action and Anti-Capitalist Action) is a neo-Nazi group with small, autonomous regional chapters around the country. Members consider themselves soldiers fighting a war against a hostile, Jewish-controlled system that is deliberately plotting the extinction of the white race. Their goal is to form an underground network of white men who are willing to fight against their perceived enemies through localized direct actions.”