VIOLENCE has erupted between the Proud Boys and Antifa after thousands of Donald Trump supporters protested over the election result.
Here is more on the far-right activists who describe themselves as a male-only club of “Western chauvinists” and have been accused of inciting violence.
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Proud Boys make the ok gesture during a Rally at Delta Park Vanport[/caption]
Who are the Proud Boys?
The Proud Boys is an alt-right organization that was launched in New York City in 2016 and has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
They have appeared alongside other alt-right groups at extremist gatherings, including the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2018 that left counter-protester Heather Heyer dead and 19 others injured.
Members of the right-wing group the Proud Boys arrive in Salem, Oregon, for a pro-Trump rally in September of 2020[/caption]
They have often been seen squaring off with Antifa protesters.
There are three degrees of membership, according to the SPLC.
Levi Lepage, member of the Proud Boys, participates in a rally for President Donald Trump, in Gresham, Oregon, on September 19[/caption]
“To become a first degree in the ‘pro-West fraternal organization’ a prospective member simply has to declare ‘I am a western chauvinist, and I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world,’” the SPLC says.
“To enter the second degree, a Proud Boy has to endure a beating until they can yell out the names of five breakfast cereals (in order to demonstrate ‘adrenaline control’) and give up masturbation because, in theory, it will leave them more inclined to go out and meet women.
How many members do the Proud Boys have?
A Trump rally in Oregon City, Oregon
The Proud Boys Facebook and Twitter pages had over 20,000 followers at the end of 2017, according to the SPLC.
There are roughly 6,000 members, according to Rewire News.
The group was established during the 2016 presidential election in the months before Donald Trump won the White House.
“Those who enter the third degree have demonstrated their commitment by getting a Proud Boys tattoo.”
The SPLC adds: “Any man – no matter his race or sexual-orientation – can join the fraternal organization as long as they ‘recognize that white men are not the problem’.
“Women have their own contingent called the Proud Boys’ Girls.”
The group denies any connection to the racist “alt-right,” according to the SPLC, claiming they are simply a “fraternal group spreading an ‘anti-political correctness’ and ‘anti-white guilt’ agenda.”
Members of the Proud Boys have often expressed their support of President Donald Trump, who was beaten in the November 3 election by President-elect Joe Biden.
A Trump rally in Oregon in September of 2020[/caption]
Who is Gavin McInnes?
The group was created by Gavin McInnes, the co-founder of VICE Media.
Writes the SPLC: “McInnes plays a duplicitous rhetorical game: rejecting white nationalism and, in particular, the term ‘alt-right’ while espousing some of its central tenets.
“For example, McInnes has himself said it is fair to call him Islamophobic.”
President Donald Trump[/caption]
Why did Trump tell them to ‘stand by’?
In the first election debate, Donald Trump did not clearly condemn white supremacist groups and their role in violence in some American cities this summer.
Debate moderator Chris Wallace asked Mr Trump if he was willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and tell them to “stand down” and not add to violence during recent protests in cities such as Portland, Oregon, and Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Mr Trump agreed to do that, asking, “Who would you like me to condemn?” Mr Biden interjected: “The Proud Boys.”
Mr Trump then urged the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,”.
But, he quickly turned the conversation to antifa, a left-wing anti-fascist ideology, whose campaigners he has blamed for violence at protests in 2020.
He said: “Almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right wing.
“I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.
“But I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you what, somebody’s gotta do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem.”
Proud Boys’ Trump supporters gather in Freedom Plaza for the ‘Million MAGA March’ on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC[/caption]
In a Proud Boys channel on the messaging app Telegram, members shared a version of their logo that included the words “stand back, stand by” following Mr Trump’s remarks.
Joe Biggs, a Proud Boys member, celebrated the group’s mention on the social media platform Parler, saying: “President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA…well sir! we’re ready!!”
Mr Trump later walked back his remarks at the White House, telling reporters he was not familiar with the Proud Boys, and suggested that the group should let law enforcement do its work.
The Proud Boys gather with their allies in a rally called against Antifa in Portland, Oregon on September 26, 2020[/caption]
What happened in Philadelphia?
A Proud Boys rally in Philadelphia on September 19 never took place.
Hundreds of local residents showed up in Clark Park to oppose the group, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Clark Park remains a place where folks from all walks of life come to recreate and to convene and to just be,” City Council member Jamie Gauthier told the newspaper.
“The white supremacist hate group that plan to come here today, they set out to disrupt all of that.”
She added: “If these Boys come here today, they’re going to go home to their miserable lives.
“But we will still have work to do.”
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Did they oppose Black Lives Matter protests?
The group opposes Antifa which is an umbrella term for far-left militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
They have appeared at protests around the country in recent years, including at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017
Black Lives Matter and Antifa followers clashed with Proud Boys in Portland on Saturday, September 26.
What happened in Washington D.C.?
Four people were stabbed and one shot as rallies backing President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud led to clashes in major US cities on December 12.
Scuffles broke out in many places between rally-goers and counter-protesters who turned up to criticize the president, who lost the November 3 election to Democrat Joe Biden but is yet to concede.
Trump fans – including the far-right Proud Boys – descended on Washington D.C. for another ‘Million MAGA March’.
Among the protesters, members of the far-right militia group the Proud Boys were clearly visible – in their signature black-and-yellow outfits, some wearing bulletproof vests – and they often drew cheers from others in the crowd.
The Proud Boys clashed with counter-protesters during the Saturday march[/caption]
Trump supporters came out for another ‘Stop the Steal’ rally[/caption]
Some blocks away, supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement held their own, much smaller, rally, chanting “Nazis out!”
Police, some in riot gear, used their bodies and bicycles to keep the groups apart.
There was also at least one clash between police and counter-protesters.
Similar events took place in Olympia, Atlanta and St. Paul, Minnesota, as well as in smaller towns in Nebraska, Alabama and elsewhere.