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Fight Between Anti-Fascist and Alt-Right Groups Erupts Inside the Minneapolis Institute of Art

A group calling itself the Industrial Workers of the World, in a nod to the international labor union that was founded in 1906 in Chicago, showed up at the Minneapolis Institute of Art last Saturday to protest a white-nationalist rally, writes Randy Kennedy of the New York Times. A few members of the group Alt Right MN came to the museum, ostensibly to “meet a few new faces and enjoy the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s beautiful collection,” said the group on its website. “However, when we got there, the IWW protesters were waiting. We had no idea that it had anything to do with us until two of our members were attacked upstairs, simply for how they looked.”

An argument broke out between the groups outside the museum before the attack. When the small alt-right contingent entered the building, some IWW people followed them in. Witnesses said they heard the alt-righters “yelling neo-Nazi provocations” and that one had racist symbols on his jacket. The New York Times tried contacting the witnesses by social media and phone, but to no avail. The museum’s director, Kaywin Feldman, said the symbols were not visible in the museum’s security footage. “We don’t have an indication of who they were. But it was obvious that the IWW fellows were going through the galleries looking for them, for their opponents,” said Feldman.

An IWW man pinned one of the alt-righters to the ground in the museum’s gallery containing eighteenth-century art and started punching him. A security guard intervened to try and help the man being hit. “She was terribly brave,” said Feldman. “As you can imagine, our security officers are trained not to put themselves in harm’s way ever. And so this was just a reaction on her part to protect another human.” The fight did not damage any of the gallery’s artworks.