SOUTH PLAINFIELD — Mayor Matt Ansesh said a small group of white supremacists that joined the parade wearing American flag masks and sunglasses was not registered for the parade and were treated as protesters.

The incident continues a series of incidents that have marred the parade for the past three years.

Members of the group showed up at the end of the parade and were greeted by boo's, Ansesh told NJ.com.

Video of the group (WARNING: Language) in the parade identified the four members who marched as the New Jersey European Heritage Association. Members carried a banner that read "Defend American Labor. Close the border." Others carried an original 13-star colonial flag.

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A voice can be heard telling the group they are not welcome. Another called them "racist pieces of s**t."

No police 'escort'

The mayor told NJ.com that claims the group appeared to be getting a police escort are inaccurate and praised police for how they handled the group's appearance. In a separate statement, Anesh thanked police for "not allowing Labor Day to be marred by this group."

"The South Plainfield Police Department intervened and treated the group as protesters. In no way, shape or form did I, the governing body, the parade committee or any other SP group approve of their presence," Ansesh wrote in a tweet.

The ADL Center for Antisemitism Research considers the New Jersey European Heritage Association a hate group that "espouses racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance under the guise of 'saving' white European peoples from purported imminent extinction.

The parade was canceled at the last minute in 2019 after over a half dozen small homemade devices were found on a property along the parade route.  The COVID-19 pandemic and crowd restrictions put in place by Gov. Phil Murphy canceled the parade in 2020 and the cleanup of damage from flooding by the remnants from Hurricane Ida caused the parade's cancellation in 2021.

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