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Extremists Look to April Anniversaries

April is a month that looms large in the calendar of many extremists in the United States, from racists and anti-Semites to anti-government groups.  Some groups organize events to commemorate these April dates.  Moreover, there is always a certain threat that one or more extremists may choose to respond to these anniversaries with some sort of violent act.

Because of these anniversaries, law enforcement officers, community leaders and school officials should be vigilant, especially during the period April 15 to April 24.

For white supremacists, the key April date is April 20, the anniversary of the birth of Adolf Hitler.  Each year, racists and anti-Semites schedule several events to celebrate the Nazi leader's birthday.  Because April 20, 2005, occurs in the middle of the week, this year such celebrations can occur on the previous weekend (April 16-17) or following weekend (April 23-24) as well. 

Known planned celebrations include an April 16 event in Osceola, Indiana, hosted by the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, to celebrate the birthdays of both Hitler and Klan leader Ray Larsen.  They also include the "6th Annual Adolf Hitler Birthday Bash," scheduled for April 23 in Detroit, Michigan.  This hate rock concert is organized by the Northern Hammerskins each year and will feature hate music bands Max Resist and Final War.  Possible celebrations may take place in New Jersey and Florida, but details have not been finalized.

Anti-government extremists pay more attention to April 19, which is the anniversary both of the violent end to the Branch Davidian standoff at Waco, Texas, in 1993, and the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City two years later by Timothy McVeigh, in a twisted act of retaliation for Waco.  A variety of Oklahoma City bombing conspiracy theorists will be holding a two-day event, "OKC Bombing:  A Day of Truth 10 Years Later," in Oklahoma City on April 19-20, 2005.

Another day in April, the 15th, when income tax filings are due, is also noted by anti-government extremists.  The Michigan Militia, for example, has traditionally held a "TaxBlast" event to protest it.  This year, the event, renamed Militia Field Day, is occurring on April 16.

Although not tied to any particular extremist group or movement, the anniversary of the tragic Columbine, Colorado, school shootings also falls on April 20.  This anniversary may seem more significant in the wake of the recent deadly school shootings in Minnesota.

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