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Swastika Banner Flies Over Long Island Beaches

The International Raelian Movement aims to reclaim the symbol and has been flying swastika banners above New York beaches since 2012.

On Saturday, beachgoers on the South Shore of Long Island expressed shock and outrage when a small plane was spotted trailing a banner with the image of a swastika, a peace sign and a heart.

The banner was commissioned by the International Raelian Movement, whose spokesman Thomas Kaenzig told NBC 4 New York that the aim was to reclaim the symbol, which they believe was “hijacked by the Nazis.”

“As long as there are people still offended by it, it means we need to continue our work, we need to continue to rehabilitate the symbol,” Kaenzig told NBC.

The group said it has flown the banner over New York and New Jersey beaches annually since 2012 as part of its “swastika rehabilitation” movement. Watch a video of the plane taking off here.

Local residents don’t seem to be taking to the movement.

“I can’t see how this can be construed in this community as anything less than grossly offensive,” Merrick resident Jeffrey Granat, 62, told Newsday

The banner also flew over Brooklyn beaches on Saturday. New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called it "an outrageous and hurtful act," according to the New York Daily News. 

Offensive or well-meaning? Do you think the swastika can be rehabilitated? Vote in the poll above and tell us in the comments section below. 

Eric A. Ballinger July 17, 2014 at 10:56 AM
Jimmy, not saying they don't have the right to fly the symbol or try to rehabilitate. The swastika is going to always have an association with that regime, no less than the cross is associated with Christianity. I'm that let person who will deny these folks their First Amendment rights.
Jonathan Kaplan July 17, 2014 at 11:02 AM
I agree with Woody Smith, don't feed the trolls
Sierra Salin July 17, 2014 at 12:35 PM
There are likely more crimes and atrocities which have been done by/under the banner of the Cross, than under the Swastika, and to many around the world, the Swastica has been a symbol of powerful blessings for thousands of years. Yes Nazis are "evil" and the symbol itself is innocent. It IS humans which cause wars/harm and hate. Some of us have a reaction to symbols such as Home Despot or McDonalds (or our supreme court) logos, which are evil of another sort, and, it is all the same really. Beliefs and righteousness and nationalistic knee jerking responses and not dealing with any substance or issues seem to be the way, and we give or sacrifice little for anyone or anything, in general. While many of us are conditioned to respond/react strongly to certain symbols, and many do to the Cross, Swastica, or corporate logos, there are others which respond differently. Swasticas are in use around the world, and have little to do with the associated hate. Meanwhile, fascism, consumerism, etc, and any religion of hate, and bullying ignorance ARE a problem. How DO we reclam love in this world, despite those of any symbol, which hate and want control over others? But then, we are americans, and all we seem to care about are appearances, and our manifest density of profit as our guiding light........
Matt Helm July 17, 2014 at 09:24 PM
Jimmy, your'e an idiot. Those men died fighting to liberate Europe where so much American financial interest (of the day) was to be found....try reading a book and stop watching TV..
Jimmy King July 18, 2014 at 11:57 AM
I'm blind. I don't watch tv

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