A teenage girl testified against her father in court after her brother turned him in to the FBI over his role in the Capitol insurrection

capitol siege riot ladder
Rioters clash with police using big ladder trying to enter Capitol building through the front doors.

An alleged Three Percenter, who is accused of breaching the Capitol, will remain in jail awaiting his trial after his own family members gave officials information leading to his arrest, CNN reported Monday.

Guy Reffitt, a Texas husband and father, drove to Washington, DC, to attend the January 6 pro-Trump rally armed with an AR-15 rifle and pistol, threatened his family members, boasted about his participation, and bragged to fellow militia members that the siege was just “the beginning,” according to court documents.

Days after returning from his trip to the nation’s capital, Reffitt told his children he knew the FBI was “watching him.” On January 11 he told his 18-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter he had to “erase everything,” referring to video evidence of his attendance, legal records said.

Reffitt told his son, Jackson, that if he crossed the line and reported his father to the police, Reffitt would have no option but to “do what he had to do,” Jackson told investigators. When Jackson asked his father if he was threatening him, Reffitt reportedly responded by saying, “don’t put words in my mouth,” the affidavit said.

Reffitt also threatened his daughter, according to court documents. The girl was using her cell phone to talk with friends when Reffitt told her if she was recording him or put anything about him on social media she would have “crossed the line, betrayed the family” and he would “put a bullet through” her phone, according to the affidavit.

That same day, the two children – who disapproved of their father’s pro-Trump politics – told their mother, Nicole, that Reffitt had threatened them. When confronted by his wife, Reffitt reportedly doubled down on his warnings, saying if his children turned him in they would be traitors and “traitors get shot,” court documents said.

Reffitt’s wife and son told FBI officials all this and more when agents arrived at their Wylie home on January 16 to execute a search warrant and eventually arrest Reffitt, according to legal records.

Jackson has since left the family’s home and is now living in an undisclosed location, according to court documents. The son previously told CNN that he tipped the FBI off about his father.

But despite detailing Reffitt’s post-siege behavior to investigators, family members have continued to support the patriarch in court and in the media.

Nicole told CNN that Reffitt is a “loving husband and devoted father, loyal friend, and passionate patriot.” She insisted his statements were taken out of context and said nobody ever felt they were in real danger.

The couple’s minor daughter and her boyfriend, meanwhile testified on behalf of Reffitt in court Monday. Though she told the judge she thought Reffitt had tried to intimidate her and her brother, his daughter said she did not believe he would be dangerous if released, CNN reported.

Reffitt’s lawyer also downplayed his client’s threats while arguing for his pretrial release.

US Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui rejected Reffitt’s release request because of prosecutors’ claims that Reffitt had donned body armor, a helmet, a firearm, and plastic flex-cuffs on the Capitol grounds, according to The Washington Post.

Faruqui said Reffitt had used encrypted communications with fellow Three Percenters before and after the attack and had planned for violence.

Insider reached out to Reffitt’s defense attorney for comment.

The Three Percenters, a far-right, anti-government group for which Reffitt said he conducted vetting and intelligence, formed in 2008, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Its name originates from the myth that only 3% of colonists took up arms during the Revolutionary War. Members view themselves as “modern-day versions of those revolutionaries fighting against a tyrannical US government rather than the British.”

When Faruqui read his decision, it elicited a “wail” from Reffitt’s wife, daughter, and daughter’s boyfriend, CNN reported.

Despite their support of Reffitt, it was at least the third time members of his family had given details about his actions to authorities.

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Trump’s fake inauguration on March 4 was QAnon’s latest vision that flopped. A new date is now being peddled to perpetuate the mind games.

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Crowds gather outside the U.S. Capitol for the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • QAnon followers believed that March 4 would see former President Donald Trump reinstated as president.
  • It was just the latest date in a long line of bizarre goalposts that continually shift.
  • Followers of the conspiracy theory are looking forward to future dates that will herald epic changes.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

“Don’t be disappointed,” wrote one subscriber on a popular QAnon Telegram channel late Thursday night. “The race is not run yet and I have reason to believe March 20 is also possible.”

Another believer posted a similarly optimistic message. “We still have 16 days,” they wrote. “Lots can happen between now and then!”

With the passing of March 4, a highly-anticipated date for the conspiracy group, followers remain characteristically delusional.

With the uneventful passage of yet another supposedly momentous date, QAnon fans spent Friday morning urging followers to look forward and “keep the faith.”

QAnon’s March 4 failure

When “the Storm’ – the promise of mass arrests and executions on Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day -amounted to nothing, followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory scrambled for a new date to imagine Trump’s fictional swearing-in ceremony.

March 4, like several fruitless dates that preceded it, was born out of a convoluted political fantasy.

QAnon adherents borrowed from the obscure US-based sovereign-citizen movement to suggest that Trump would return to power on March 4, 2021. Sovereign citizens “believe that they get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization that tracks extremism. 

The conspiracy-theory movement will continue to invent new dates to look forward to, or else their years of obsessional beliefs will all have been for naught, say far-right experts.

“Reality doesn’t really matter,” Nick Backovic, a contributing editor at fact-checking website Logically, where he researches misinformation and disinformation, told Insider. “Whether QAnon can survive another great disappointment, there’s no question – it can.”

The March 4 theory is rooted in a bizarre belief that argues all laws after the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, are illegitimate. 

The 20th Amendment, which moved Inauguration Day from March 4 to January 20, is viewed by sovereign citizens as invalid. 

Therefore, proponents of this conspiracy theory insisted that Trump would restore a republic that has been out of action for over 150 years on the day when former presidents were sworn-in. 

Travis View, a conspiracy theory expert and host of the QAnon Anonymous podcast, previously told Insider that it’s based on a “blind faith” that Trump can “fix everything.”

A series of no-shows

Before March 4, the QAnon follower’s calendar was marked with a string of dates that were once hailed as moments of reckoning that didn’t happen.

In 2017, the first “Q drop” – the cryptic messages from the anonymous “Q” figure whose guidance runs the movement – claimed that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be arrested because of an unfounded allegation that she was involved in child sex trafficking. This, of course, never happened, but the QAnon conspiracy theory was born.

Devotees of the conspiracy theory then eagerly anticipated the Mueller report’s release in 2019, expecting its findings to lead to the arrest and possible execution of leading Democrats. Once again, this resulted in nothing more than disappointment for QAnon believers.

Then, in a bid to reconcile their belief that Trump would remain president, they believed January 6, which went on to be a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol, was a precursor to “The Storm” – a violent event that would result in the execution of child-abusive elites.

The goalpost was then moved to January 20, based on the claim that Trump would seize power prior to Biden taking his oath.

melania trump after polane inauguration
Outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One at the Palm Beach International Airport on the way to Mar-a-Lago Club on January 20, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Trump left Washington, DC on the last day of his administration before Joe Biden was sworn-in as the 46th president of the United States.

But Trump was not inaugurated again on January 20 and instead left Washington to move down to his Florida home. In the hours after Biden’s inauguration, some QAnon believers were left confused and crestfallen. 

Mental gymnastics ensued, with some QAnon influencers arguing that Biden’s inauguration had happened in a Hollywood studio and was therefore invalid; others claimed that Trump sent signals during his final pre-inauguration address indicating that he’d remain in office. These influencers again promoted to their followers the idea that somehow, their theory was not yet over.

“QAnon is dealing with a very difficult cognitive dissonance situation,” Michael Barkun, professor emeritus of political science at Syracuse University, told Insider.

Naturally, some believers become fed up with failures

Several top QAnon voices disavowed the March 4 conspiracy theory in the days leading up to Thursday. These influencers have likely been attempting to keep their followers on-board with the conspiracy theory despite its myriad disappointments, Backovic told Insider. 

A Wednesday post on a QAnon Telegram channel with nearly 200,000 subscribers called the plan “BS,” though the same page told their followers that the “new Republic” would begin on March 4.

Another top conspiracy theorist told their 71,000 subscribers on Wednesday morning that a “Q drop”  contained a hint that the March 4 conspiracy theory was a false flag. “March 4 is a Trap,” the post said. 

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QAnon supporters in a Telegram channel express confusion after Biden’s inauguration.

Whenever QAnon’s prophecies are proven wrong, the movement does lose some support, Backovic said. 

In the days after President Biden’s inauguration, many QAnon believers did express a desire to leave the movement, fed up with the lies they’d been told. Even Ron Watkins, once QAnon’s top source for voter-fraud misinformation, told his 134,000 Telegram subscribers in the afternoon of January 20, “Now we need to keep our chins up and go back to our lives as best we are able.” 

QAnon influencers calling the March 4 conspiracy a “false flag” also helps place blame on others in case things go awry like they did on January 6. Finding a scapegoat is a common tactic for extremists, according to Backovic. 

After the Capitol insurrection, QAnon supporters and other pro-Trump protesters – and several Republicans in Congress – spread the false claim that antifa, the anti-fascist movement, staged the deadly coup attempt on the Capitol.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said when he testified before Congress on Tuesday, no evidence antifa was involved in the riot.

In addition to focusing on specific dates, QAnon has evolved and adapted to include other conspiracy theories and enter more conventional spaces. 

Last spring, the movement pivoted to focus on ending human trafficking, making “Save the Children” its new battle cry. QAnon leveraged on mainstream social media, including Instagram, where lifestyle influencers spread it. 

Then, last fall, QAnon extremists joined with other right-wing groups to protest Biden’s election win as part of the Stop the Steal movement, which caused the Capitol insurrection.

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National Guard keep watch on the Capitol, Thursday, March 4, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

With nothing happening on March 4, believers look forward (again)

The latest disappointment has already resulted in new dates being introduced with increasingly desperate explanations.

Some QAnon influencers have suggested that March 20 is when Trump will seize control, misinterpreting the Presidential Transition Enhancement Act of 2019, which streamlines the presidential transition by providing certain services to the previous administration 60 days after the inauguration.

 The claim, first made on a popular QAnon Telegram channel, appeared to be making ground with supporters offline, too. A QAnon supporter interviewed by The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel said he believes Trump remains in command of the military and will be inaugurated on the 20th.

But core followers of the conspiracy theory are reluctant to throw all their weight behind a particular date.

In another Telegram message board for QAnon believers, one post encouraged people to remain open-minded about Q’s plan. “Dates for late March, April, May, and more dates in the fall have been tossed out there,” the post said. “While we can speculate and hope, no specific dates have been landed on… don’t get caught up in the dates, watch what’s happening.”

For those tempered by repeated disappointment, some are simply set on a resounding victory for Trump in 2024.

“Whether it’s some date in March or whether ultimately it will be a second Trump term after an election in 2024,” Barkun told Insider. “There will be some further set of explanations and a further set of dates.”

And the cycle continues.

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Parler, a preferred social-media platform for the far-right, is back online with Mark Meckler as interim CEO

Parler
Parler is back online.

  • Parler has relaunched with a Tea Party Patriots co-founder at the top.
  • The social-media platform was taken offline by Amazon Web Services in January. 
  • The site, a favorite for the far-right, was found to be a planning hub for Capitol insurrectionists.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Parler, the preferred social media platform for the far-right, announced Monday that it was back online after it was dropped by an Amazon hosting service on January 11. 

The site became a haven for pro-Trump extremists ahead of, and during, the Capitol insurrection. Amazon Web Services (AWS) found that it “poses a very real risk to public safety.”

On Monday, the company announced that site was up and running with a Tea Party co-founder serving as interim CEO. Mark Meckler, an attorney, political activist, and founder of the Tea Party Patriots, replaced former CEO and co-founder John Matze, who was fired by the company’s board earlier this month. 

Read more: How Silicon Valley banished Donald Trump in 48 hours

In a statement Monday, Meckler said, “Parler was built to offer a social media platform that protects free speech and values privacy and civil discourse,” highlighting the platform’s focus on freedom of speech. “Parler is being run by an experienced team and is here to stay. We will thrive as the premier social media platform dedicated to free speech, privacy and civil dialogue,” the statement said. 

According to publicly available WHOIS data, the domain is registered with Epik, which also hosts Gab, another far-right social-media platform. 

A spokesperson did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

Parler is largely funded by Rebekah Mercer, a conservative megadonor whose family was among the most influential backers of then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. Dan Bongino, a conservative activist, has also said he’s a co-owner.

The company came under scrutiny after the Capitol insurrection as evidence emerged that the rioters had used Parler and other platforms to coordinate the attack.

Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores shortly after the insurrection, saying it had continued to allow content that threatened to escalate violence in violation of their policies. Amazon then removed Parler’s access to its web-hosting services, and other tech companies refused to do business with it, effectively taking the platform offline.

Parler will immediately bring back its current users during the first week of the relaunch and intends to allow new users to sign up the following week, the statement said. 

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Ex-Parler CEO said he didn’t want the platform to work with Trump for fear the president would ‘bully’ employees into doing what he wanted

Matze Trump Parler
Parler CEO John Matze and President Donald Trump, who Matze has said considered making an account on the controversial social-media platform.

  • John Matze, the former CEO of Parler, told Axios on HBO that he did not want to work with Trump.
  • He said we was concerned Trump would “bully” employees into doing what he wanted.
  • BuzzFeed reported Parler offered Trump a 40% stake in exchange for becoming his go-to social media.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

John Matze, the former CEO of Parler, said during an interview with Axios on HBO that he didn’t want the social media platform to work with Donald Trump.

“I didn’t like the idea of working with Trump because he might have bullied people inside the company to do what he wanted,” Matze told Axios during an interview that aired Sunday.

“But I was worried that if we didn’t sign the deal, he might have been vengeful and told his followers to leave Parler,” Matze added.

Parler, which has very limited content moderation, grew in popularity among Trump supporters and far-right figures following the election in November. However, Trump, who frequently complained about Twitter adding fact-check labels to his tweets, never made a verified Parler account.

Read more: How Google finally decided to remove Parler after months of flagging the app’s harmful content

Matze also told Axios he does not know why Trump has not joined the platform, despite being booted off other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook for violating their terms.

The interview, which took place Thursday, was released following a BuzzFeed News report on Friday that said Parler offered the Trump Organization 40% stake in exchange for Trump making the app his go-to social media platform.

The proposed deal, which was reportedly in talks last summer and after Trump lost the election, also would have required Trump to post on Parler four hours before reposting the content on other platforms, while also linking back to Parler, according to BuzzFeed.

Matze did not mention the specifics of the BuzzFeed report in the interview with Axios but said the negotiations over the summer did not get very far.

Trump’s business interests during his presidency raised questions over whether he was abusing the office of the presidency for personal financial gain.

BuzzFeed reported that the Parler deal could have violated anti-bribery laws because Parler would have given Trump something of value in exchange for control over his official statements, according to ethics experts.

Parler’s board fired Matze from his role as CEO last week, as the app currently remains offline. Following the insurrection at the US Capitol last month, Apple and Google removed the app from their app stores, and Amazon also stopped hosting the app, citing insufficient moderation of violent content.

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Twitter suspended far-right website Gateway Pundit’s founder account

jim hoft gateway pundit
Jim Hoft, author at The Gateway Pundit, talks with Stephen K. Bannon while appearing on an episode of Brietbart News Daily on SiriusXM Patriot at Quicken Loans Arena on July 21, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Twitter has suspended the account of Gateway Pundit, a far-right website run by Jim Hoft.
  • Hoft used the account to peddle false claims, including that the 2020 election results were invalid.
  • Gateway Pundit joins the growing list of accounts suspended on Twitter for violating its policies.  
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Twitter on Saturday suspended the account for Gateway Pundit, a far-right website that for years has spread false information and conspiracy theories, including disinformation about the 2020 presidential election. 

In a statement to Forbes, a Twitter spokesperson said the account was suspended for “repeated violations” of its civic integrity policy, which prohibits users from tweeting “for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes.”

Twitter did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment.

Jim Hoft, the founder and editor-in-chief of Gateway Pundit, operated the account. 

The website had for years shared baseless conspiracy theories and false information, most recently echoing former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. 

When Democrat Joe Biden won the election, Trump for weeks refused to explicitly acknowledge his loss. In the hours after the race was called for Biden, Trump said the “election is far from over.” 

He then doubled down and sought to overturn the results in state and federal courts across the country. The Trump campaign and the president’s allies had filed, and lost, dozens of lawsuits in multiple battleground states contesting the results.

And allegations of voter fraud have been struck down and disproven numerous times since Trump and his lawyers presented their arguments. The Trump-appointed Attorney General Bill Barr, who’s repeatedly positioned himself as one of the president’s strongest defenders, conceded that neither the Justice Department nor the FBI found widespread evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Still, Trump continued to claim otherwise, posting frequently on his personal Twitter account – which has been permanently suspended – about widespread voter fraud and a “rigged” election. 

Gateway Pundit doubled down on those false claims. 

Just about a week ago, Hoft, using the Gateway Pundit Twitter account, pushed claims that some ballots cast for Biden were illegal, the Hill reported, referencing an archived version of the now-suspended account.

Bloomberg News reported that Hoft was one of the people pictured at Trump’s “Save America” rally on January 6, hours before violent rioters stormed the Capitol building. 

Almost immediately after the attack on the Capitol, social media platforms began suspending and permanently disabling accounts they say disseminate violent rhetoric.  

The most prominent suspension was the account of Trump himself. Sidney Powell, the lawyer Trump tasked with proving his baseless claims of election fraud, was among the people whose accounts were suspended

After Trump’s account was disabled, top conservatives began sharing their Parler accounts on the platform, encouraging their followers to follow them there. Parler became a flagship in alt-right communication, advertising itself as a platform for unregulated language and “free speech.”

Days after the presidential election, Parler download counts surged, signaling that the platform was at the time seeing an influx of new users. However, the app went offline in mid-January after several vendors, including Amazon, Apple, and Google, withdrew support for the site. 

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From the Proud Boys to QAnon: Pictures show the growth of far-right extremism in 2020

Proud Boys
A man hold his hand to his heart as a Proud Boys organizer recites the Pledge of Allegiance during a Proud Boys rally at Delta Park in Portland, Oregon on September 26, 2020.

  • The year 2020 has been defined by the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the US presidential election.
  • These massive news events also fuelled a growing far-right movement across the United States and the world.
  • From The Proud Boys to the Boogaloo movement, 20 photos show how far-right groups found the limelight this year.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The far-right movement came out of the shadows in the last year.

The year 2020, defined by a global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, brought white supremacists, right-wing extremists, and other groups promoting social unrest into the limelight.

From the Proud Boys to QAnon,  the armed militias, and the Boogaloo Bois, scroll down to find out more about how far-right extremism made its way back into the limelight in 2020.

The year 2020 has been defined by white supremacists’ rapid growth, right-wing extremists, and other groups who promote hate, division, and social unrest.

stone mountain protest
A counter-protester raises his hands in front of a far-right militia as militia groups stage rallies in downtown Stone Mountain, Georgia, U.S. August 15, 2020.

These groups have been fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the 2020 presidential election.

germany anti lockdown protest
Police douse demonstrators with water during protests against modifications to a law called the “infection protection law” (“Infektionsschutzgesetz”) in Berlin, Germany, on November 18, 2020.

 

 

The Proud Boys, a far-right political organization that calls itself a “fraternity” of “Western chauvinists”, gained national media attention during the first presidential debate when President Trump told them to “stand back and stand by.”

proud boys trump debate
The Proud Boys, a right-wing pro-Trump group, are heavily armed with military weapons gather with their allies in a rally called ‘End Domestic Terrorism’ against Antifa in Portland, Oregon on September 26, 2020.

The group was founded in 2018 by Gavin McInnes, who is also the co-founder of Vice Media. 

While McInnes and other leaders of the group have denied that it is racist, some members  “espouse white supremacist and anti-Semitic ideologies” and are involved in white supremacist organizations, according to the ADL.

Classified by the FBI as an”extremist group with ties to white nationalism,” the Proud Boys are known for holding rallies to protest left-wing groups and stoking violence.

Source: Fighting Antisemitism and Hate

 

 

Its profile gained national attention in the summer, at the height of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that erupted across the US following the death of George Floyd.

dc protest clash
Members of the Proud Boys and counter-protesters clash near Black Lives Matter Plaza on December 12, 2020, in Washington, DC.

Source: Insider

The Proud Boys also made appearances at political rallies this year, including a November “Million MAGA March” demonstration against the election results.

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Members of “the Proud Boys” join supporters of US President Donald Trump during a rally in Washington, DC, on November 14, 2020.

The fraternity’s international chairman, Enrique Tarrio, told Insider in September that some of its members were running for the 2020 election, but declined to identify them by name.

proud boys enrique tarrio
Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio rallies in Portland, Ore., during the group’s “End Domestic Terrorism” gathering on August 17, 2019.

“We have our guys who are running for office, and we’ll be busy door-knocking pretty much across the county,” Tarrio told Insider at the time. “We’re focused on the election and getting our favorite candidates elected, including our guys.”

Source: Insider

The Proud Boys have also publicly supported 17-year-old shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, who was charged in the deaths of two Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August.

proud boys trup rally
Trump supporters and the “Proud Boys” group attend a rally on December 11, 2020, in Washington, DC.

Source: Insider

Rittenhouse is a Trump supporter from Illinois who had previously expressed support on social media for the Blue Lives Matter movement and law enforcement.

Kyle Rittenhouse
Kyle Rittenhouse listens to defense attorney John Pierce during an extradition hearing in Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, Illinois, on October 30, 2020.

Source: Insider

Other organizations that came to the forefront in 2020 include the Boogaloo Bois, a loosely organized far-right, anti-government group known for wearing trademark Hawaiian shirts and wielding rifles at various protests.

boogaloo bois protest
Boogaloo Bois wait ahead of a protest in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 30, 2020.

The Boogaloo Bois, who are supporters of the Second Amendment, have called for a second US civil war and an uprising against the federal government.

Source: Insider

 

 

The Boogaloo Bois have been linked to several crimes. Earlier this week, one member pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide weapons and resources to US-designated terrorist group Hamas.

boogaloo boys
Members of the Boogaloo Movement stand in front of the Ohio Statehouse during a right-wing protest “Stand For America Against Terrorists and Tyrants” at State Capitol on July 18, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio.

“This case highlights the real threat posed by domestic violent extremists who self-radicalize and threaten to violently attack others opposed to their views, with little or no warning,” said Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis field office, according to Insider.

Source: Insider

Paramilitary and far-right groups were also seen in Michigan earlier in the year when armed protesters from an anti-lockdown protest stormed the state’s Capitol.

Coronavirus lockdown protest Michigan
People take part in a protest for “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine” at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on April 15, 2020.

Some of the protesters comparing the state’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, to Hitler.

President Trump later called them “very good people,” adding that the governor should “make a deal with them.”

Source: Business Insider

Some of the protesters were tied to a paramilitary militia group called the Wolverine Watchmen.

whitmer boogaloo null brothers
Members of a militia group attack the state capitol building in Lansing, Michigan on April 30, 2020.

Several months later, members of the same group were arrested on charges of planning an alleged terrorism plot to kidnap the Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Source: Business Insider

It has become increasingly difficult to differentiate the various groups from one another, as they often appear at the same rallies.

proud boys
Protesters march towards Freedom Plaza during a demonstration on December 12, 2020, in Washington, DC.

This has particularly been the case in Germany, which has seen Europe’s biggest anti-lockdown movement in recent months.

germany anti-lockdown protest qanon
A demonstrator holds a QAnon flag in Berlin, Germany, on November 18, 2020.

Source: Business Insider

Far-right extremists are among the diverse group of anti-lockdown demonstrators who have been protesting regularly in the country.

germany anti lockdown protest
A demonstrator wrapped in a flag of the German empire faces off with riot policemen standing guard in front of the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany on August 29, 2020.

Despite having differing backgrounds, many protesters have united to accuse German lawmakers of triggering unnecessary panic by imposing local and national lockdowns.

Source: Business Insider

QAnon has also found fertile ground in Germany, where more than 200,000 people follow the US conspiracy theory on social media accounts on all platforms.

germany anti-lockdown protest qanon
Mostly right-wing protesters, including a young woman wearing a QAnon shirt, observe riot police clearing Unter den Linden avenue during protests against coronavirus-related restrictions and government policy on August 29, 2020, in Berlin, Germany.

Source: The New York Times

The same has been witnessed in other European countries, including the United Kingdom, where fascist symbols or QAnon references often make an appearance in anti-lockdown protests.

london qanon lockdow
Piers Corbyn speaks to demonstrators as a man holds up a QAnon sign behind him during a StandUpX March for Freedom protest on October 17, 2020, in London, England.

In the summer, hundreds of demonstrators, some of whom belonged to far-right groups, clashed with police during a protest in London. This picture,- of a BLM supporter carrying an injured counter-protester to safety – made national headlines.

Protester Patrick Hutchinson carries an injured counter-protester to safety, near Waterloo station during a Black Lives Matter protest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, in London, Britain, June 13, 2020.
Protester Patrick Hutchinson carries an injured protester to safety, near Waterloo station during an anti-BLM protest, in London, Britain, on June 13, 2020.

Source: Insider

Experts worry right-wing extremism will continue to be a problem in the years to come. Top international security officials last year ranked it as one of the world’s most serious security threats alongside space security, climate change, and emerging technologies.

GettyImages 1229622023
A member of the Proud Boys poses for a photo with the Patriot Elk, a reappropriated far-left protest sculpture, during a Defeat the Steal rally on November 14, 2020, in Salem, Oregon.

Source: World Economic Forum

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