About 15 people with flags displaying Nazi insignia gathered outside Walt Disney World theme park in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, as others displayed messaging in support of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to the demonstration, which dissipated after about two hours with no arrests. Two counter-protesters also showed up, the office said.
“We are aware of these groups that aim to agitate and incite people with anti-Semitic symbols and slurs. They are also aware of the law,” the office said in a statement. “The Orange County Sheriff’s Office deplores hate speech in any form, but people have the First Amendment right to demonstrate.”
Representatives for DeSantis and Disney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
‘We don’t want this going on’
Multiple people waved red and black flags with swastikas, and at least one person held a poster of DeSantis, according to photos and videos circulating on social media and obtained by USA TODAY.
Lisa Gause, 60, told USA TODAY she and her son were stopped at a red light when she saw the small group and took a photo of the scene, which shows a “DeSantis 2024 Make America Florida” flag planted in the ground.
“Good lord, what is this world coming to? What is Florida — what is America coming to?” said Gause, a sixth-generation Floridian. “We don’t want this going on.”
Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani, of Orlando, also shared a number of images of the scene.
“It’s absolutely disgusting to see what has become a common presence of Nazis in Florida, and even more disturbing when they are holding signs and flags that signal support for people like Governor DeSantis,” Eskamani said. “Every person, regardless of political ideology, should condemn this. Florida is a state built on diversity and we will always stand against bigotry and hate.”The Combat Antisemitism Movement, a non-partisan international organization, issued a statement on the incident and noted a “similar occurrence” happened at the same location last May.