About 20 members of the far-right group the Proud Boys marched through Rockville Centre on Small Business Saturday, drawing ire from local lawmakers and concern from local businesses and customers.
Members of the group marched down Sunrise Highway, waving American flags and "Don’t Tread on Me" flags and playing music from the back of a pickup truck. Several members also made a hand gesture for white power and raised their arm in a salute.
Some members, wearing bandannas over their faces, moved to the downtown business district on Park Avenue, where they entered stores, shouted slogans and handed out flyers promoting their 12 tenets including "minimal government," "anti-racism," "anti-racial guilt," "venerate the housewife" and "reinstate the spirit of Western chauvinism."
Rockville Centre police were stationed on the street, monitoring the demonstrators and controlling traffic. Police could not be reached for comment.
Some store owners appeared surprised and alarmed by the demonstration, while diners expressed concerns about the group coming to the community.
The Proud Boys group did not respond to an online request for comment Saturday night.
Several Long Island lawmakers condemned the rally, including Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) and Assemb. Judy Griffin (D-Rockville Centre).
"I’m aware of the march through Rockville Centre that white nationalists organized today," Rice tweeted. "I am disgusted that this took place in our district. I will continue to fight against racism, hatred and white nationalism while serving as your representative."
"I will not be silent," Kaminsky tweeted of the "the neo-fascist" group. "Their hatred has no place here — this is not the Nassau I know."
Griffin said the group did not have permits for the march and did not give any notice to the village about it. She said the march appeared intent on disrupting Small Business Saturday.
"They’re a divisive group of hate and violence. They don’t have any place here," Griffin said. "I’m all for freedom of speech, but this group doesn’t have a very good track record and seem to come to communities to incite problems and polarize."
Rockville Centre Mayor Francis X. Murray, a Republican, said he was not aware of the demonstration and did not know who the Proud Boys were. He declined to comment further about the march.
Members of the group marched through Bay Shore last month.
The Proud Boys were designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist organizations. The Law Center described the group as denying any association with the "alt-right" movement, but noted it has shown a history of white nationalism.
Several members and supporters of the New York and national chapters have been indicted for allegedly storming the Capitol in the Jan. 6 insurrection and allegedly organizing rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia.