Group flies swastika banner over South Shore

Beachgoers along the South Shore were shocked and angered to see a plane overhead towing a banner with a swastika on it.



The banner also included a heart and a peace sign, to say "Swastika = Peace and Love." It directed people below to a website called Proswastika.org.



As News 12 has reported, a similar banner was flown over Long Island beaches last year as well. The group responsible says it's the sixth year of what it calls "Swastika Rehabilitation Day."



The website and the banners are backed by a religion called the Raelian movement. A spokesman says the swastika is a holy symbol that was synonymous with peace throughout history until it was used by the Nazis.



But beachgoers who spoke with News 12 said the banner sent the wrong message. "As a mom with a kid active in the military, I know what fighting for peace is, and this is not it," said Barbara Piccione, of Massapequa.



"That symbol is the equivalent to hatred, and when one sees the swastika, you automatically think of the Holocaust," said Carol Ferrante, also of Massapequa.



Organizers say another banner with the same message was flown over Chicago today. The group says it selected highly populated areas to spread its message.


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