June 25, 1978 rally is scheduled
Skokie readies itself for a neo-Nazi rally on June 25
On May 25, 1978, Skokie issues a permit allowing Frank Collin and his National Socialist Party of America (NSPA) followers to demonstrate in front of Skokie’s Village Hall (5127 Oakton Street) on Sunday, June 25, 1978.
On June 22, 1978 Frank Collin and the NSPA hold a rally in the John C. Kluczynski Federal Building Plaza in downtown Chicago.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “A band of 29 uniformed Nazis held a 10-minute demonstration.”
An estimated 5,000 protestors and 1,000 police are present at the rally. The New York Times estimates that there were “nearly a thousand counterdemonstrators.”
Because of the overwhelming number of counterdemonstrators at the NSPA rally in Chicago, there is growing concern over the likelihood of violence at the scheduled June 25, 1978 NSPA rally in Skokie.
In a statement, Mayor Albert J. Smith addresses several issues regarding the precautionary measures for the planned NSPA rally, including:
- Skokie police presence and activities
- Assistance by surrounding community police forces, the Illinois State Police, Cook County Sheriff's Police, and Illinois National Guard
- Street closings and checkpoints
- Designated demonstration area
- Police command center at Niles West High School
- Press room at Niles East High School
The Skokie Park District closes parks and Skokie Police Chief Kenneth Chamberlain issues a directive that the area bounded by Edens Expressway (I-94), Howard Street, Skokie Boulevard, and Main Street will be restricted on the day of the NSPA rally.
Many groups plan counterdemonstrations.
In the meantime, the Illinois State Legislature takes action by introducing bills limiting hate speech.