Hundreds of people gathered in a tiny town in North Dakota on Sunday to protest the plan of a former Vancouver man to allegedly turn the community into an Aryan enclave.

Paul Craig Cobb, who was arrested and charged in Vancouver for promoting hatred, has been buying property around the town of Leith to create a community of white supremacists.

On Sunday, protesters from three states converged on the town to counter a rally by the National Socialist Movement in support of Cobb.

Dozens of police officers in riot gear were on-site, but the protests remained peaceful for the most part.

Cobb has dual Canadian and U.S. citizenship and RCMP say he moved to the Vancouver area around August 2009.

In 2011 the RCMP's hate crime team alleged Cobb operated a website from various locations around Vancouver, promoting hatred based on religion and ethnicity.

Cobb was arrested that year at the Vancouver Public Library and several search warrants were executed. But charges were not immediately filed and the 59-year-old was released with a promise to appear at a later date.

Provincial officials eventually approved a charge of wilful promotion of hatred, but Mounties said at the time they believed Cobb fled to the U.S. shortly after his June release. A Canada-wide warrant was then issued for his arrest.