Update: Threats of violence confirmed, no razor blades found yet
Harrisburg resident Chris Anderson and his wife were shocked and fearful when they spotted a racist sticker on a light post as they walked around the usually peaceful downtown streets.
In response to the effort by Chris Anderson who posted his experience on social media, many Harrisburg residents have expressed outrage and warn of potential danger in removing the stickers.
People are advised that the stickers may be covering thin razor blades that can cut anybody trying to remove the stickers.
As initially reported by Pennlive, it all started just after lunch on Friday when Harrisburg resident Chris Anderson and his wife spotted the unusual sticker on a light post as they walked near Riverfront Park.
The teal sticker with a simple triangle design on it had the words “Identity Evropa” on it, and that’s when Anderson grew concerned.
“It was startling, kind of hard to believe,” Anderson said. He remembered that he saw a post about stickers, which represent an alt-right group, on State Street earlier in the week, but didn’t pay much attention to it.
After finding one in Riverfront Park, the pair split up and walked around State 2nd, Pine and other streets around the Capitol. Together together they found six stickers scattered on electrical boxes, trash cans and posts.
Luckily, the stickers came off pretty easily, leading Anderson to believe they had only recently been put on.
“It’s disconcerting to say the least,” Anderson said. He and his wife live and work downtown, and Anderson walks in the area every day. He hadn’t noticed any stickers until Friday.
Identity Evrope’s website describes itself as a group of patriotic “American Identitiarians” who embrace their European culture and roots and believe they need to “restore America.”
The organization, which requires an application process to become a member and annual fees, claims to have a presence in major cities. They suggest any member who does not live in a metropolitan area can participate in events when they are held in cities.
On Anderson’s social media post, local racial extremists have expressed their willingness to resort to violence if they would encounter the person responsible for posting the Evropa stickers.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Identity Evropa as an organization attempting to recruit white college-aged men to attempt to make them the face of white nationalism.
“Rather than denigrating people of color, the campus-based organization focuses on raising white racial consciousness, building community based on shared racial identity and intellectualizing white supremacist ideology,” the SPLC states.
The organization is credited with helping fund the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer.
“That’s not what we need, not what the city needs, not what central Pa. needs,” Anderson said. “It makes me angry more than anything else.”
Anderson posted to the Midtown Harrisburg Facebook group with a photo of the sticker, prompting discussion and people making efforts to take the stickers down.
Up until now, Anderson said he hasn’t seen any of these ideologies demonstrated around the city, short of the planned rallies that never drew in tons of people other than protesters.
“We never feel like we’re not safe,” Anderson said. He said in Harrisburg, cultural diversity is a strength of the city.
“Harrisburg’s a great place,” Anderson said. “It’s gone through a lot of issues, it’s going through a lot of issues. It doesn’t need this.”
Harrisburg officials said they were looking into the stickers as of Friday afternoon.