TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian authorities designated the Proud Boys group as a terrorist entity on Wednesday, noting they performed a pivotal function within the riot on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
The Proud Boys have confronted elevated scrutiny after seizing on the previous Trump administration’s insurance policies and was a serious agitator throughout earlier protests and the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. The Proud Boys is a far-right, male chauvinist extremist group recognized for partaking in violent clashes at political rallies. Canada is the primary nation to designate them as a terrorist entity.
Throughout a September presidential debate, Donald Trump had urged the Proud Boys to “stand again and stand by” when requested to sentence them by a moderator.
Senior officers talking on a technical briefing mentioned authorities had been monitoring and accumulating proof concerning the Proud Boys earlier than the Capitol Hill riot, however confirmed that the occasion supplied data that helped with the choice to checklist the group.
Public Security Minister Invoice Blair mentioned they revealed themselves.
“Their intent and their escalation towards violence turned fairly clear,” Blair mentioned.
Enrique Tarrio, the chairman of Proud Boys, referred to as the terrorist designation “ridiculous.”
“There is no such thing as a foundation for it. It’s infringement of free speech rights. All of the Canadian Proud Boys have ever executed is go to rallies,” Tarrio mentioned in a cellphone interview.
“They used what occurred on the Capitol to push for this.”
Tarrio mentioned the Canadian chapters are very quiet in comparison with their American counterparts. He estimated there are between 1,000 and 1,500 Proud Boys in Canada. He mentioned Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and opposition New Democrat chief Jagmeet Singh, who first proposed the designation, are advantage signaling.
Tarrio was arrested in Washington shortly earlier than the Capitol riot. He was accused of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church throughout an earlier protest within the nation’s capital.
Requested whether or not the US will comply with Canada and designate Proud Boys as a terrorist entity, White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned the U.S. has a home extremism evaluate underway. “We are going to anticipate that evaluate to conclude earlier than we make any determinations,” Psaki mentioned.
The terrorist designation in Canada means the group might have belongings seized and face harsher terrorism-related felony penalties. A authorities official mentioned simply because they’re a member doesn’t imply they are going to be charged with a criminal offense, but when they do have interaction in violent acts they may very well be charged with terrorist crimes.
Sending cash to the group or shopping for Proud Boys paraphernalia would even be a criminal offense.
“The group and its members have overtly inspired, deliberate, and carried out violent actions in opposition to these they understand to be against their ideology and political opinions,” the Canadian authorities mentioned in briefing supplies.
“The group frequently attends Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests as counter-protesters, usually partaking in violence focusing on BLM supporters. On January 6, 2021, the Proud Boys performed a pivotal function within the riot on the U.S. Capitol.”
The federal government calls the Proud Boys a neo-fascist group with semiautonomous chapters positioned in america, Canada, and internationally. It mentioned it engages in political violence and that members espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and white supremacist ideologies.
“Since 2018 we now have seen an escalation in direction of violence for this group,” Blair mentioned.
“Within the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, we now have seen indicators of escalation in direction of violence from a lot of completely different teams together with the Proud Boys.”
Blair mentioned 4 right-wing teams are amongst 13 additions to the checklist, which embrace three teams linked to al-Qaida, 4 related to the Islamic State group and one Kashmiri group.
“Canada is not going to tolerate ideological, non secular or politically motivated acts of violence,” Blair mentioned.
The Proud Boys had been fashioned in 2016 by Canadian Gavin McInnes, who co-founded Vice Media.
In 2018, police arrested a number of Proud Boys members and associates who brawled with antifascists after McInnes, delivered a speech at New York’s Metropolitan Republican Membership.
McInnes has described the group as a politically incorrect males’s membership for “Western chauvinists” and denies affiliations with far-right extremist teams that overtly espouse racist and anti-Semitic views. McInnes sued the Southern Poverty Regulation Heart, claiming it defamed him when it designated the Proud Boys as a “hate group.”
In response to the federal swimsuit, which continues to be pending in Alabama, the regulation heart mentioned McInnes has acknowledged an “overlap” between the Proud Boys and white nationalist teams.
“Certainly, Proud Boys members have posted social media footage of themselves with distinguished Holocaust deniers, white nationalists, and recognized neo-Nazis,” regulation heart attorneys wrote in a court docket submitting.
Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor on the College of Toronto, mentioned Trudeau’s Liberal authorities is making an attempt to connect their star to the anti-Trump sentiment prevalent in Canada.
“For the reason that Proud Boys are recognized with Trump, they’re a simple goal. Had Trump received the election, I’m assured the Liberals wouldn’t have gone after the Proud Boys,” Wiseman mentioned.
“There may be right-wing extremism in Canada however a lot, a lot lower than within the U.S.”