Swastika yard display spurs new protest in California neighborhood

EL SOBRANTE, Calif. (KPIX) — Outrage over a swastika in an El Sobrante man’s front yard prompted neighbors to stage a protest Thursday.

Members of the community lined a street in the city’s downtown area, waving American flags and holding picket signs. Protesters said they wanted to denounce the man’s front yard symbol and to show support for marginalized communities.

Homeowner Steve Johnson told KPIX it isn’t a swastika, but a Tibetan sign.

Neighbors aren’t buying it though, saying Johnson has other displays of swastikas around his home and on his motorcycle.

“He’s just really espousing Nazism, actually, and hate,” protester Cindy Sweet said.

“I think people fetishize these types of symbols, swastikas,” said Bruce Tompkins, who was also at Thursday’s protest. “They don’t realize the depth of this what this means.”

KPIX returned to the man’s property Thursday and found the swastika had been covered up with Powerpuff Girl and Hello Kitty blankets.

A petition to remove the swastika has gathered 15,000 signatures.

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