Omaha Police are taking extensive measures to ensure that Saturday afternoon's anti-immigration rally by a neo-Nazi group will be a peaceful gathering.
They gathered on the steps of the state Capitol three years ago. Now the nation's largest neo-Nazi group has chosen Omaha for its latest demonstration.
The National Socialist Movement will hold the rally outside the Consulate of Mexico at 35th and Dodge. Beginning at 10 a.m., traffic on Dodge between 33rd and 38th streets will be redirected around an area two blocks to the north and south.
There could be more than a hundred protesters lining the streets or there could just be a handful. Whatever the turnout, the police have made it clear that this rally is not going to get out of hand.
"Everybody's got their own rights I guess,” says Vicki Halbur, who lives near the consulate. She says she’s glad she'll be out on road this weekend and nowhere near the rally.
In the past, most anti-immigration rallies at the consulate have been peaceful. "But you never know," says Vicki.
Which is why Omaha Police don’t want to take any chances. "They have a strategic plan set up to ensure a safe environment for all those attending," says Omaha Police Officer David Spizzirri.
Part of that plan includes restricting what can be brought onto the premises. "To get into the rally where it is a controlled environment, people will be screened and searched prior to entering," says Officer Spizzirri. "Those who refuse to be searched will be denied access."
The items not allowed at the rally include firearms, knives and explosive devices. That's pretty standard. But those who come will also not be allowed to bring in food or drinks, signs and banners or any noise making devices, including bullhorns and portable radios.
Rally participants will also not be allowed to wear steel-toed boots or clothing with sharp, protruding objects. "There has to be some kind of control,” says Halbur.
Some of the restrictions might seem extreme, but she says we can't go too far when it comes to protecting everyone's safety.
Omaha Police say they will have the help of more than 10 other law enforcement agencies in monitoring Saturday's rally.