Two U.S. Marines were arrested at a pro-Confederate rally on May 20 in Graham, North Carolina (video below).
Sgt. Michael Chesny and Staff Sgt. Joseph Manning were charged with trespassing after they allegedly unfurled a banner associated with white nationalism from the top of a building, noted The Times-News.
Graham Police Capt. Steve McGilvray told the newspaper that the men told the cops that they wanted to film protesters -- Industrial Workers of the World -- to "show they weren’t peaceful."
The banner stated: "He who controls the past controls the future," which is from George Orwell’s novel "1984."
The banner also had an Identitarian symbol and the acronym "YWNRU," which means: "You will not replace us."
Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project told the newspaper that the Identitarian movement began in Europe against Muslim and Middle Eastern immigration.
"In the last year, we’ve seen this Identitarian thinking go across the Atlantic into the U.S.," Beirich said. "It’s in the last year that it’s gotten really aggressive."
"The idea [is] that Muslims are coming and replacing historic populations and Christianity," Beirich added.
Maj. Clark Carpenter said the stunt was unacceptable: "Of course we condemn this type of behavior. We condemn any type of behavior that is not congruent with our values or that is illegal."
Carpenter said the men's actions were "not representative of the rest of the Marine Corps," and added: "This is two Marines that behaved inappropriately. That’s going to be investigated, and ultimately it’s an isolated incident."
The men are back at their duty stations, according to Marine officials, notes the Marine Times.
Mike Barton, a spokesman for the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, where Chesny is stationed, explained the how legal process works in the Marines:
Once the investigation is complete, the commanding officer's action can range from taking no action and letting the civilian authorities prosecute the case, to administrative actions such as formal admonishment, non-judicial punishment or administrative separation from the service.
The commanding officer may refer the case to a court martial if the investigation determines the misconduct was serious enough to warrant a prosecution of crimes not already handled through the Alamance County criminal court.
Manning is stationed at the Marine Corps Engineer School at Camp Lejeune, which has not decided on possible disciplinary action and is working with civil authorities, according to Capt. Joshua Pena.