The violence follows the sample established over the earlier 4 years—right-wing extremists organizing gangs of out-of-town thugs from rural and exurban areas to invade liberal city facilities on imprecise political pretexts as a way to interact in threatening acts of intimidation and provoke violence that they will then blame on “antifa” and the “left.” And as with all these occasions, the Proud Boys’ presence has been to behave as avenue enforcers for quite a lot of far-right causes: Denouncing the election outcomes, protesting about COVID-19 public-health measures, or no matter else is likely to be the right-wing grievance du jour.
Principally, it’s about creating worry and violence on behalf of a white-nationalist agenda. That’s what the Proud Boys exist for, and it’s why the Southern Poverty Legislation Middle lists them as a “common” hate group.
All throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Proud Boys have been whipping up a way of public intimidation on the liberal cities the place they maintain rallies whereas spreading conspiracist misinformation in regards to the virus, its unfold, and the federal government orders meant to struggle it. These appearances have been a part of the Proud Boys’ regular drumbeat of bringing the politics of thuggery to American cities all through 2020, because the Institute for Schooling and Analysis on Human Rights has mapped out intimately, for quite a lot of ostensible causes.
In Raleigh final weekend, Proud Boys got here out to protest North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s pandemic-related enterprise restrictions, notably these on indoor gatherings. Calling it a “Pilgrims and Patriots Thanksgiving in Raleigh” occasion, organizers with Reopen Carolina joined arms with the Proud Boys and a Latinos for Trump group on the state Capitol. Then, as standard, they proceeded to impress brawls with counterprotesters who held an occasion referred to as “Racists Out Of Raleigh.”
There have been no fights, since police saved the 2 sides separated assiduously. So the Proud Boys turned their thug ways to the press who got here to cowl the occasion, together with a reporter for the Indy who they harassed. Their report describes it:
A person in a Proud Boys bandana saved the INDY reporter from recording speeches by placing his hand in entrance of the digital camera, whereas others round pretended to sneeze. A girl in a white tank high and MAGA hat additionally informed the reporter to depart. This occurred a second time as soon as the group was again on the Jones Road nook; this time, the person who had been blocking the digital camera informed the reporter, “we are able to ask you to depart, or we are able to make you allow.”
Proud Boys additionally confirmed up at one other COVID-related protest in Staten Island—this time outdoors Mac’s Public Home, a tavern that had just lately been busted for providing meals and drinks past a ten PM cutoff time mandated by New York Metropolis officers. A big, completely maskless crowd gathered outdoors the pub on Wednesday night time to protest the fees.
Contained in the pub, there have been chants of “Proud Boys in the home.” In keeping with the New York Submit, a speaker additionally led a Proud Boys chant: “I’m a proud Western Chauvinist.” Afterward, they segued into singing Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”
In keeping with The Solar, protesters blamed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for the pandemic measures, with indicators studying “Dictator Cuomo.” One protester shouted at cops by way of a megaphone: “The place is your spine? The place is your morality?”
The occasion in Sacramento had nothing to do with COVID-19, however as an alternative was completely a protest of the election outcomes, and an insistence that Trump received the election—and closely populated by Proud Boys and their militia cohort. One of many Proud Boys informed the gang that the group’s position was to defend “individuals such as you that come out to rallies.”
As Capital Radio reporter Scott Rodd noticed, these have been hole phrases:
However the Proud Boys additionally performed the aggressor. CapRadio noticed one Proud Boy take a swing at a member of the press for filming him. Different members, after the demonstrators returned to the barricaded space close to the Capitol, remained outdoors the perimeter and instigated counter-protesters and passersby. A number of chased after one counter-protester. Some additionally adopted and taunted observers from the Nationwide Legal professionals Guild.
By day’s finish, a number of brawls had damaged out, and police—who declared an illegal meeting and issued a dispersal order—reported one arrest on “assault-related fees.”
Reporter Gabe Stutman of Jewish Weekly was additionally current, and watched as, after their rally speeches ended, “they spilled into the streets of downtown Sacramento, chanting ‘Whose streets? Our streets!’ and ‘F*ck antifa!’ whereas butting up towards police cordons that blocked their path. The demonstrators exchanged insults and threats with roughly a dozen individuals recognized as a part of antifa …”
Stutman notes that “every protest has adopted an identical sample,” one acquainted to reporters masking Proud Boys occasions elsewhere: First, a peaceable demonstration with speeches in a public house, adopted by a march into downtown or different city areas with the intent of brawling with counterprotesters—or, for that matter, anybody who shouts at them or protests them.
The San Francisco-based workplace of the ADL for the Central Pacific area issued a press release decrying the occasion: “First, they convey consideration and probably entice new adherents to extremist agendas and teams just like the Proud Boys,” it learn. “Second, their provocative and divisive rhetoric can and does result in violence, as we noticed in Sacramento and elsewhere.”
Stutman additionally described getting the intimidation therapy from a right-wing protester, who shouted insults and blocked his cell-phone-camera lens. When Stutman requested if he was a Proud Boy, the person responded: “I’m a white boy, motherf*cker.”