Last week, demonstration levels remained stable in the United States and considerably decreased in Canada. While demonstrations supporting Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion comprised the largest share of demonstration events in Canada last week, Ukraine-related demonstrations in the United States decreased. Meanwhile, demonstrations against anti-LGBT+ legislation continued at a stable rate in the United States, while demonstrations supporting access to abortion increased moderately. Lastly, reported militia, militant social movement, and white supremacist activity in the United States continued at about the same level as the week prior.
In Canada, labor demonstrations for better pay and working conditions made up the second-largest share of demonstration events last week. Toyota workers in New Brunswick, hotel workers in British Columbia, social service workers in Quebec, and seafood processing workers in Newfoundland and Labrador held demonstrations related to labor demands.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan community groups held a small number of demonstrations in Canada last week, echoing protests in Sri Lanka calling for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. These demands come amidst growing political turmoil in Sri Lanka where an ongoing economic crisis has led to shortages of basic necessities, including food, fuel, and medicine (CBC, 9 April 2022).
In the United States, daily demonstrations against anti-LBGT+ legislation were held in multiple states last week. These demonstrations come as more than a dozen state legislatures consider legislation aimed at restricting discussion of LGBT+ identities in schools and banning transgender students from competing in school sports (NPR, 10 April 2022). Meanwhile, demonstrations in opposition to new legislation aimed at restricting abortion access in several states across the country increased last week. Abortion-related demonstrations constituted the majority of demonstrations that were met with counter-demonstrators last week.
Several violent attacks on civilians occurred across multiple states last week, including attacks on members of minority communities. In Knoxville, Tennessee, four white men yelled racial profanities and assaulted a Black family whose car ran out of gas in the middle of the street. In Lakewood, New Jersey, a man struck two Jewish people with a car before stabbing a third with a knife. In Queens, New York, two colluding perpetrators separately attacked two Sikh men blocks apart within 10 minutes of each other, resulting in their hospitalization. Elsewhere in New York, in Brooklyn, a man disguised as a construction worker threw smoke grenades and fired a pistol into a subway train, reportedly injuring at least 23 people, five of whom were hospitalized. These attacks contributed to the 100% increase in political violence in New York over the past week relative to the past month, as flagged by ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker.
Violent threats were reported against three schools last week, including two Black-majority schools. These threats are the latest in a spate of violent threats against schools, which have primarily targeted HBCUs and Black-majority schools. As with previous threats, investigations found no explosive devices or armed individuals at the threatened schools last week.
Reported militia and militant social movement activity in the United States continued at a relatively similar rate to the week prior. On 10 April, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Nation of Islam members, QAnon adherents, and a former Rise Against Movement (RAM) member staged a ‘Defeat the Mandates’ rally against pandemic-related restrictions in Los Angeles, California. This demonstration coincided with the return of the cross-country ‘People’s Convoy’ (The Sacramento Bee, 11 April 2022). Elsewhere in California, QAnon adherents rallied outside Disneyland in Anaheim and called for a boycott of Disney due to the company’s opposition to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation.
Three Arizona-based militias were active last week. The Chino Valley Preparedness Team and the Verde Valley Preparedness Team held recruitment meetings in Chino Valley and Cottonwood, respectively. Elsewhere, Veterans on Patrol (VOP) conducted patrols along the border with Mexico near Sasabe. VOP claims to have detained 13 migrants and turned them over to the US Border Patrol following two consecutive days of patrols.
Openly white supremacist organizations were also active last week. On 12 and 13 April, Patriot Front held two sparring trainings in undisclosed locations in northern New Jersey and northern Texas, respectively. Additionally, the Goyim Defense League (GDL) distributed antisemitic flyers blaming Jewish people for the coronavirus pandemic throughout the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.
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