Residents band together to protest swastika in homeowner's front yard

EL SOBRANTE, Calif. (KGO) -- At the corner of Appian Way and San Pablo Dam Road, in El Sobrante, unity stood tall.

Becki Cohn-Vargas said, "We're hoping he'll realize he has come to hurt this community."

"He" is Steve Johnson. He used to have a massive swastika symbol in his front yard. Now, it's covered by blankets and sheets.

RELATED: Swastika symbol in El Sobrante man's front yard has some neighbors upset

Neighbor Zach Radocaj said, "It does make a little bit of a difference but it would be nice if he did something else."

That's why the five dozen people at this corner have come to deliver a message.

Nancy Burke said, "I consider it a hateful symbol and it's not welcome in my community."

Most consider this a close knit community filled with diverse families and opinions. That's why the swastika is just so shocking.

We tried speaking with Steven Johnson today, but he said, "No comment."

Earlier this month, he said this about the swastika, "It's a Tibetan sign that's way back before swastikas were invented." I asked, "Are you Tibetan?" His answer, "I could be."

El Sobrante resident, Alyssa Shannon said, "I think no matter what his reason for having it there's a compelling reason for him taking it down."

More than 15,000 people have signed an on line petition asking Johnson to remove the swastika from his front yard.

The plan is for a mediator to sit down with Johnson, with the signatures in hand, next month.
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