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Plane Tows Swastika Banner, Startles New Jersey Beachgoers

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LONG BEACH, N.J. (CBS/AP) — New Jersey beachgoers were startled over the weekend to see a small plane flying overhead pulling a swastika banner.

VIEW: Photo Plane Towing Swastika Banner

Twitter was abuzz with tweets from people who saw the plane fly over Long Beach Island on Saturday afternoon.

Here are some Twitter reactions from beachgoers who saw the plane:

From @MiguelinaNunez: It’s a gorgeous day… And some idiot is flying a swastika banner off the tail of his plane up and down Manhattan.

From @ChrissyKellyy: Just saw a plane advertisement that said swastika = peace + love #wtf #freecountryiguess

From @kerripaliwoda: Why did plane with a swastika banner just fly over our boat….wtf.

From @bclark7: Plane just flew over the beach pulling a swastika and advertising a website advocating for swastika use. Eyebrow-raising to say the least.

The group behind the flight says it wasn’t meant as a representation of hate. The International Raelian Movement says the swastika is actually a symbol of peace and beauty that was corrupted by Nazis in 20th century Germany.

On its website, the group writes that the flight was part of its third swastika rehabilitation day.

Don Pripstein, president of the Jewish Community Center of Long Beach Island, says whatever the group’s intentions are, the image is still horrific for many Jews whose relatives were killed in the Holocaust.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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