OKLAHOMA CITY -- A national organization criticized as a "hate group" is defending stickers found around the Oklahoma City metro that support the group.
Identity Evropa was founded in 2016. The Southern Poverty Law Group has designated the organization as a "hate group", claiming they focus "on raising white racial consciousness, building community based on shared racial identity and intellectualizing white supremacist ideology."
Recently, Identity Evropa stickers were found near 10th and Harvey in Oklahoma City by resident Luke Atkinson who said he took them down because he disagreed with the message.
"I was walking downtown and there were some stickers placed on a light pole and utility box here in downtown and I had some familiarity what the stickers were," Atkinson said. "I associate more of a kind of a hateful message with those stickers and it was disappointing to see that in our city, something that represents hate."
A spokesperson for the organization told News 4 they do have members in Oklahoma; however, he said "hate" has nothing to do with their organization.
He claimed, their goals and message are being mis-characterized.
"Americans of European heritage are being demographically displaced as a result of mass immigration and globalization. We don’t see this transformation as something for the better and as a result, Identity Evropa is the growing membership organization and activism organization for European Americans seeking to really restore America," said spokesperson Sam Harrington. "We have our own political interests, our own future. That isn’t to disparage any other group or ethnicity, but we see our demographic present and therefore our status in America economically, politically, socially collapsing."
The SPLG goes on to suggest on their website, the organization is on the forefront of "racist "alt-rights"" efforts.
Harrington said they do not share the same movement goals.
"We do not permit the advocacy of supremacy , violence, or illegal activity in our organization. The great majority of our members are young, and the great majority of our all of our members have never been involved in a previous political organization."
Kristy Yager, a spokesperson for the city of Oklahoma City, told News 4 the stickers in question were considered illegally placed. According to Yager, the city receives more than 1,100 complaints about illegally placed signed cluttering roadways every year.
"Signs are illegal when they are in the City’s street right of way. That’s the pavement and medians, of course, but it also includes land on either side of the street. Even if the sign is in front of your own business, it can’t be placed in the right of way. The width of the right of way depends on the width of the street: The wider the street, the wider the right of way on either side. Generally speaking, land between the curb and the sidewalk is in the right of way. On most streets, the right of way is a 12-foot strip on either side of the street," Yager told us via email.
Other "No Sign Zones" include:
- Any area between a curb and a sidewalk
- Any telephone pole, electric pole, lamp post, street sign or parking meter
- Street medians
- Drinking fountains
- Park roads and park property
In response, Harrington told us they are confident they are on the right side of the law adding the stickers were not intrusive or damaging posters but are part of their First Amendment right.