Twitter removed a fake account they say was created by a white nationalist group posing as Antifa, calling for their members to go to residential white neighborhoods and “take what’s ours.”
CNN reported that a group called Evropa tweeted from the fake account Sunday, “ALERT Tonight’s the night, Comrades Tonight we say “F**k The City” and we move into the residential areas… the white hoods…. and we take what’s ours #BlacklivesMaters #F**kAmerica.”
According to The Southern Poverty Law Group Evropa is:
…at the forefront of the racist “alt-right’s” effort to recruit white, college-aged men and transform them into the fashionable new face of white nationalism. Rather than denigrating people of color, the campus-based organization focuses on raising white racial consciousness, building community based on shared racial identity and intellectualizing white supremacist ideology.
Organized Groups Are Suspected of Using the George Floyd Protests as a Means to Cause Destruction and Violence
We have reason to believe that bad actors continue to infiltrate the rightful protests of George Floyd’s murder, which is why we are extending the curfew by one day.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) May 31, 2020
As protests have embroiled the nation for the last week in reaction to the killing of a black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, while he was being arrested for trying to use a counterfeit bill to make a purchase, peaceful calls for justice and an end to police brutality have morphed into night after night of destruction and violence.
Last Week Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz along with that State’s Commissioner, John Harrington and the Mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, said they believed white supremacist groups were coming in from out of state to wreak havoc in their cities and hide behind the peaceful protesters. However, they also said it could be other organized groups and they were still investigating.
Then, on May 31, President Trump said he was going to designate Antifa a terrorist group in a tweet, blaming the far-leftist group for infiltrating the protests and instigating chaos. However, he does not have the power to make that desigation.
The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
Antifa is short for Anti-Fascists. The Anti-Defamation League describes the group as “a loose collection of groups, networks and individuals who believe in active, aggressive opposition to far right-wing movements.”
Though the group stems from Europe and has been around in some form for about a century, according to The Progressive, Antifa came into the spotlight recently in 2017 when members showed up at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, to counter-protest against the far-right and white supremacist groups that were rallying.
“Antifa have expanded their definition of fascist/fascism to include not just white supremacists and other extremists, but also many conservatives and supporters of President Trump”, according to the ADL. The group can also sometimes targets law enforcement because “they believe the police are providing cover for white supremacists.”
The ADL reports:
While some Antifa use their fists, other violent tactics include throwing projectiles, including bricks, crowbars, homemade slingshots, metal chains, water bottles, and balloons filled with urine and feces. They have deployed noxious gases, pushed through police barricades, and attempted to exploit any perceived weakness in law enforcement presence.
Because there is no unifying body it’s not clear how many members of Antifa there are, according to the ADL, but they are known to travel hundreds of miles to protest white supremacists.
Extremist Right-Wing Groups The Proud Boys and Boogaloo Bois Have Been Spotted in the Protests That Are Supposed to Be About Police Brutality Against African Americans
As federal and state agencies work to identify what groups are exploiting the #blacklivesmatter protests for their own destructive purposes, J.J. MacNab, a fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, told The Associated Press that she has seen Boogaloo Bois in crowds of protestors wearing tactical gear and carrying high-powered rifles. Boogaloo is white supremacist slang for the second civil war, according to MacNab, who has been monitoring anti-government extremists on Facebook.
“They want to co-opt them in order to start their war, McNab told the AP. “They see themselves as being on the side of protesters and that the protesters themselves are useful in causing anarchy.”
Megan Squire, an Elon University computer science professor who tracks online extremism, told the AP she spotted members of the right-wing extremist group Proud Boys at a protest in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Easily spotted in their black and yellow polo shirts and sometimes red MAGA hats, the ADL describes the group as “an unconventional strain of American right-wing extremism. While the group can be described as violent, nationalistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and misogynistic, its members represent a range of ethnic backgrounds, and its leaders vehemently protest any allegations of racism.”
President Trump has not spoken about the presence of right-wing extremist groups infiltrating the George Floyd protests, according to the AP.