An international organization is trying to take back the swastika— a symbol they say was “hijacked by the Nazis”– by flying it high in the sky over cities across the world. Beachgoers in New York and New Jersey were reportedly an audience to this sign on Saturday afternoon:
The International Raelian Movement said on their website, Proswastika.org, that they will fly the banner all week long, a break from their annual one-day flight displaying the symbol. The flights are part of their effort to prove that the controversial mark is “not a Nazi symbol,” but one of peace and well-being.
“We decided we need an entire week to really get the word out,” Thomas Kaenzig, a member of the International Raelian Movement said on their website. “Swastika Rehabilitation Week began on July 5, and we’ve already held events in about 20 cities in Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and South America. This weekend we’ll hold events all over North America, including the United States and Canada.”
NBC reports that beachgoers who saw the banner over New York and New Jersey were not happy. Brooklyn City Councilman Mark Treyger told the station: “I am deeply offended and hurt. Try explaining to someone who witnessed their loved ones who were butchered by people under that Nazi symbol that it’s anything but a hateful one.”
The banner features the symbol intertwined with a six-pointed star. Proswastika.org claims the mark represents peace for millions of Hindus, Buddhists, and Raelians, and is a symbol of infinity and eternity.
“As long there are people still offended by it, it means we need to continue our work,” Raelian Guide Kaenzig said. “We need to continue to rehabilitate the symbol.”
The International Raelian Movement will reportedly continue it’s campaign until July 18.