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Rioter wearing ‘Camp Auschwitz’ hoodie arrested, report says

Charging documents were not immediately available

Louise Hall
Wednesday 13 January 2021 17:41 GMT
Pro-Trump protesters storm the Capitol Building, 6 January
Pro-Trump protesters storm the Capitol Building, 6 January (REUTERS)
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A rioter who wore a hoodie emblazoned with the words “Camp Auschwitz” during the mob on the US Capitol last week has been arrested, a report has said.

A law enforcement official reportedly told CNN that the man, identified by the broadcaster as Robert Keith Packer, was arrested on Wednesday in Newport News, Virginia.

The outlet said that charging documents were not immediately available.

Pictures of the man wearing the jumper, which referenced the Nazi concentration camp where over one million people were killed during World War II, surfaced online amid the siege.

The phrase “Work brings freedom” was also seen on the hoody, a slogan which was written on the gates to Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.

The shocking photo horrified users on social media, with a tweet featuring a screengrabbed image of the man quickly drawing attention to anti-Semitism amid the riot.

“A rioter today wore a hoodie that says Camp Auschwitz on it. When Jewish people tell you they fear for their life, start believing them,” writer Olivia Fletcher wrote in the caption.

The pro-Trump mob, who were demanding that the election result be overturned, vandalised Capitol property and looted the building, smashing windows and ransacking offices.

The presence of anti-Semitic symbols and sentiment at the riot has raised alarms among Jewish Americans, with experts saying the messages reflect an ongoing, disturbing trend.

Eric Ward, executive director of the progressive anti-discrimination group Western States Center said “It is no stretch to say there were visible signs of anti-Semitism in the makeup” of the riot.

“But the real power of anti-Semitism in the events on Wednesday is actually buried within the narrative,” he said.

In 2019, anti-Semitic incidents in the US hit a four-decade high, according to internal tracking by the Anti-Defamation League, a leading anti-hate organisation that aims to stop the defamation of the Jewish people.

Last september, a new survey of adults aged between 18 to 39 across the US revealed that just under half of the respondents (49 per cent) had seen Holocaust denial or distortion posts on social media or elsewhere online.

Thirty per cent of respondents in the survey, which was commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, said they had seen Nazi symbols on their social media platforms and, or, in their communities.

Five people died as a result of the violence at the riots last week, including one Capitol Police officer who was beaten as he tried to ward off the crowds.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press

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