Democrats, Republicans denounce swastika displayed at West Bend Farmers Market

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WEST BEND, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Imagine walking around a farmer's market and coming across a swastika.

Viewers who wished to remain anonymous sent CBS 58 News what they're calling disturbing images showing just that from the West Bend Farmers Market Saturday morning, on Sept. 24.

People say it was off Main Street in downtown West Bend at the farmers market on Saturday that they saw a swastika displayed at the Washington County Republicans booth.

"About 9 AM one of the market goers whom we did not know came to our booth and described a sign that was displayed at the Republican County booth and on that sign was the symbol of a swastika," said Washington County Democratic Party Chair Stephen Roberts.

Images taken by a passerby show a swastika seemingly taped above a Democrat donkey with a small People's Republic of China flag to the right of the donkey.

Roberts says quickly after people started noticing it, it disappeared.

"Within about an hour that sign was removed by the Republican County party's booth," said Roberts.

Washington County Republican Party Chair Randy Marquardt put out the following statement:

"The sign was the idea of an over-zealous volunteer who was staffing our booth at the West Bend Farmers Market on Sept 23. It was an ill-conceived attempt to associate the Democrat Party with extremism and totalitarian regimes. It was done without approval of myself, or our Executive Board. That imagery and implied rhetoric is unacceptable in political discourse. The Republican Party of Washington County condemns its use and apologizes to our community."

Roberts said he's glad local Republican leaders can join him in denouncing what happened in an effort to try and decrease the division that exists in the community.

"I also hope that our elected county officials and assemblyman who are Republicans will join in that condemnation also," said Roberts.

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