Right-Wing Street Violence is on the Rise
While the right points to Antifa, right wing militias take to the streets.
A group of protestors in Albuquerque, New Mexico were attempting to topple the statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate on Monday when shots rang out. One protestor was hit and taken to the hospital in critical condition, and the police department is currently investigating the shooter’s connections to local vigilante groups.
Video taken on the ground shows members of the New Mexico Civil Guard, an armed militia group, protecting the shooter from upset protestors after he fired his gun. It’s unclear whether the shooter is associated with the armed militia, but the shooter was seen shoving protestors multiple times before the shooting incident.
Albuquerque police also took several members of the armed civilian militia into custody.
The events in Albuquerque follow a growing pattern of right-wing violence after the immense movement of antiracist protests after four police officers killed George Floyd in Minneapolis.
While President Donald Trump has focused on Antifa and the political right has run with the idea that the antifascist group is a domestic terror cell, right-wing militia groups, racist counter-protestors, and disgruntled statue defenders have committed acts of violence across the nation.
Statue Defenders and Boogaloo
The most eye-catching statue toppling during this iteration of Black Lives Matter protests have occurred in the United Kingdom, but the Albuquerque statue protest has not been the first to attract right-wing attention.
Vigilantes in Philadelphia have been out to protect a Christopher Columbus statue the last several days and routinely used violence to intimidate journalists and antiracist demonstrators. A Unicorn Riot journalist documented the statue defense and was hit with baseball bats and had his bike tires slashed for filming and asking the baseball bat-wielding statue defenders questions.
Philadelphia has been no stranger to armed white groups roaming the streets with one video of a white mob with baseball bats at the outset of the protests going viral.
In Las Vegas, three men with ties to extremist right-wing organizations were arrested on terrorism-related charges for conspiracy to incite violence at protests. The men were found making Molotov cocktails while Black Lives Matter protests were underway, and all three have served in the American military.
The Las Vegas men had connections to the boogaloo movement, a loosely-organized right-wing, and some say white supremacist, group looking to speed up a potential civil war to topple the government.
While the President and other Republican elected officials have said Antifa is using violence in the streets, right-wing terrorist groups, vigilantes, and enraged lone wolves have threatened protestors with violence across the nation.
President Trump has regularly used Antifa as a punching bag, while also using his own violent rhetoric. Trump has also used thinly-veiled language to call his supporters out to the streets including a mention of a “MAGA night at the White House” after multiple days of antiracist protest actions outside of the White House.
The right’s laser focus on Antifa and the President’s call to actions has emboldened violent right-wing groups and individuals to push back against protests.
In Loveland, Colorado a white man kneeled on the neck of a college football player and held him and his coworker at gunpoint while accusing them of being members of Antifa. The two men were door-to-door roofing salesmen.
Armed white men also took to the streets throughout Idaho including Coeur d’Alene to protect the town against alleged Antifa agitators. The protests were peaceful.
And in Bethel, Ohio white residents harassed Black Lives Matters protestors and used racial slurs to intimidate the small group protesting against police brutality.
Further examples are plentiful, but the pattern is abundantly clear. In many of the examples provided above police officers can often be seen exercising great caution with intimidating white mobs, a courtesy not shown to the multiracial Black Lives Matter protests.