Date: 5 Rabbi al-Awwal 1442   Thursday 22 October 2020

  • Last Update: Thursday 22 October 2020، 00:42:07.

Is Antifa responsible for US riots?

10:09 02 June 2020 Author :  

Peaceful demonstrators have begun turning on violent agitators within their ranks after Donald Trump pinned the blame for rioting on Antifa, the radical left-wing protest group.

In Washington a crowd captured and handed over to police a man dressed all in black, as many Antifa activists do. He had arrived with a bag of tools and began destroying the pavement with a hammer.

Mr Trump said the riots were being "led by Antifa" and far-left anarchist groups who were "terrorising the innocent and burning down buildings". He vowed to designate Antifa a terrorist organisation.

Tim Walz, the Democrat governor of Minnesota, where protests began after the death of George Floyd, said up to 80 per cent of those involved had come from outside the state.

He said: "Bad actors continue to infiltrate the rightful protests of George Floyd’s murder."

John Miller, the deputy commissioner of the New York police, said extremist groups had launched a well-planned campaign, which included scouts on bicycles, and establishing supply routes for circulating gasoline to set fires and rocks to throw.

They had also mobilised their own medics, used encrypted messaging, and raising bail for those arrested.

Mr Miller said: "They prepared to commit property damage, directed people who were following them that this should be done selectively, and only in wealthier areas, or at high-end stores run by corporate entities."

However, determining Antifa's responsibility for the violence is difficult.

The amorphous group does not have an official leader or base. It's name is a contraction of "anti-fascist".

Antifa activists wear masks, but amid the coronavirus pandemic peaceful protesters are too.

Its members have been present at many US demonstrations in recent years, including at Charlottesville in August 2017, when they counter-protested against white nationalists.

The group's roots stretch back to 1930s Germany and include the 1980s Anti-Fascist Action group in the UK which stood against the National Front and BNP.

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, said: "They believe that elites are controlling the government and the media. So they need to make a statement head-on against the people who they regard as racist.

"There's this 'It's going down' mentality and this 'Hit them with your boots' mentality that goes back many decades."

Keith Ellison, the attorney general of Minnesota, said: “There’s been a lot of videotape taken by demonstrators of people who are very suspicious, who really did start breaking windows.

"There have been other photographs of cars with no licence plates. Very suspicious behavior. The truth is, nobody really knows."

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