Demonstration events in the United States continued a downward trend for the second consecutive week, dropping by about a quarter relative to the week prior. Last week’s decrease is largely due to a sharp drop in demonstrations in support of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. These demonstrations declined by almost 75% compared to the week prior. Meanwhile, demonstrations connected to the COVID-19 pandemic continued at a lower rate last week despite an increase in new COVID-19 cases (Wall Street Journal, 6 April 2021). Additionally, demonstrations associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement also continued to decrease last week.
Demonstrations calling for an end to violence against AAPI communities significantly declined last week compared to the week prior. These demonstrations surged following mass shootings in the Atlanta metropolitan area that targeted female Asian workers on 16 March and continued the following week. With ongoing reports of hate crimes against AAPI communities, Democrats are pushing for legislation called the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (NPR, 13 April, 2021), which would expedite the Justice Department’s handling of hate crimes related to the pandemic and would facilitate local reporting of such crimes (USA Today, 13 April 2021).
Demonstrations related to the coronavirus pandemic continued last week amid a fourth wave of new COVID-19 cases in the US (Times, 31 March 2021). However, the overall number of such demonstration events significantly declined. The number of demonstration events related to the coronavirus last week were less than half the number reported in mid-March 2021. While restrictions have been lifted in most states (New York Times, 13 April 14, 2021), demonstrations calling for reopening businesses and schools and lifting mask mandates continued in California, Idaho, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Wyoming (for more on the pandemic’s impact on protest trends, see ACLED’s report: A National Emergency: How COVID-19 Is Fueling Unrest in the US).
Meanwhile, demonstrations associated with the BLM movement continued at a slightly decreased rate last week compared to the week prior. Approximately a third of all BLM-linked demonstration events called for justice for George Floyd amid the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing Floyd in May 2020 (CBS News, 14 April 2021). Other demonstrations associated with the BLM movement have focused on more local issues, such as those related to new legislation perceived to target demonstrations by people of color (Des Moines Register, 8 April 2021).
Meanwhile, reported militia activity continued at lower levels last week than in weeks prior. The American Contingency continued to conduct firearm training events in Arizona and Texas. Additionally, the Mountain Man Militia reportedly held training events at undisclosed locations in Washington state. Meanwhile, armed members of militia groups were reportedly seen at several demonstrations last week. Armed members of the Boogaloo Boys protested in both Lansing and Ann Arbor, Michigan against the arrest of an Ann Arbor man following a 36-hour standoff with police (MLive, 5 April 2021). On 3 April, members of Boogaloo Boys were rebuffed after attempting to join a BLM demonstration in Lansing (MLive, 5 April 14, 2021). On the same day, armed members of the Michigan People’s Defense League, an anti-racist community defense militia, were present to ‘protect’ protesters at an anti-KKK rally in Auburn, Indiana (The Star, 3 April 14, 2021).
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