A Fight In a Museum, Reported With Bias [with comment by Paul]

There was a bizarre incident at the Minneapolis Institute of Art today: a fight broke out in an 18th Century European art gallery. Almost equally remarkable is the manner in which my local newspaper, the Star Tribune, reported the altercation: “Punches thrown when fight erupts inside Minneapolis Institute of Art; one involved had look of neo-Nazi.”

The Strib’s report begins:

A shoving match broke out in a most unlikely place, the typically serene Minneapolis Institute of Art, where three people who appeared to be neo-Nazis fought with several others in another group of activists, a witness said Sunday.

Security guards arrived at the mayhem late Saturday afternoon on the museum’s third floor, broke up the confrontation and had one of the reputed neo-Nazis pinned to the floor, said museum visitor Will Bildsten.

So far the story is all about neo-Nazis. Or, anyway people who “appeared to be neo-Nazis.” But it takes two to make an altercation, and the Strib describes the other group as “activists.” So keep reading:

Institute Director Kaywin Feldman said some of those involved in the incident were among roughly two dozen people staging a protest outside the museum in opposition to anti-immigration sentiment in the United States. They hoisted a banner with slogans in Spanish and English: “Una clase, una lucha — contra fronteras [a class, a struggle — against borders]!” and below that, “Don’t deport our fellow workers.”

Aha! So the “activists” involved in the fight were open borders protesters who had been outside the museum.

When the group said to look like neo-Nazis entered the admission-free museum, several from the protest outside followed, Feldman said.

So three people “said to look like neo-Nazis” went into the museum, and the open borders protesters followed them, which apparently is what precipitated the fight. Indeed, the account confirms that it was the open borders protesters who attacked at least one of the “neo-Nazis”:

The adversaries made their way to the third floor amid the 18th-century European art, where the tension turned physical, the director said. She said one person among the trio was attacked but didn’t want to press charges.

A witness describes what led up to the fight:

Vijit Nanda, visiting the museum with Bildsten, said, “I heard voices that were louder than usual for a museum. There [was] a large man with a buzz cut arguing loudly with some people. They were getting in each others’ faces and quickly started pushing each other.”

Are people with buzz cuts neo-Nazis?

When the fight was over, the open borders protesters marched away in what sounds like military formation:

As he and Bildsten were leaving that part of the museum, a group of people “dressed in mostly darker colors walked out in front of us chanting and pumping their hands in the air,” Nanda said. “I honestly do not remember the exact words, but it was something along the lines of ‘Nazi scum get off our streets!'”

The Strib article concludes:

Once the guards broke up the clash, “The anti-fascists marched off in a line,” [Bildsten] said.

When a bunch of guys dressed in black chant and pump their hands in the air while marching in a line, you know they are anti-fascists.

The Strib does its best to obscure the fact, but it seems clear that the aggressors in the altercation were the open borders protesters. Meanwhile, is there any reason to think that the people they attacked were actually neo-Nazis? The evidence comes from william ö bildsten’s Twitter feed:

The “Protest exhibit” is a photography exhibit that is described here. Was there a “neo-Nazi demonstration” inside the museum? That isn’t how the newspaper described what happened, but Bildsten is their primary witness.

Is this true? I have no idea. Bildsten’s Twitter feed suggests that he is a pretty intelligent lefty.

That is where the story sits at the moment. It appears that a group of pro-illegal immigration protesters followed another group into the museum, accosted them and started a fight. The other group may or may not have been “neo-Nazis”–who, for what it is worth, are not exactly a major political force in Minneapolis. Nevertheless, the Star Tribune’s account focuses on the maybe-Nazis and goes easy on the “anti-fascists” who march around chanting, with clenched fists in the air.

Stay tuned. There may be more to come.

UPDATE: I believe this short paragraph has been added to the Star Tribune story:

Fliers handed out by the protesters outside identified the participants as with the defense arm of the Industrial Workers of the World union.

I like that “defense arm.” But the other guys are the fascists!

PAUL adds: The modern-day incarnation of the Industrial Workers of the World is a nasty group with thuggish tendencies. I hope the guys with buzz-cut won the fight (unless it turns out that they actually are neo-Nazis).

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