Demonstration activity moderately decreased in the United States last week while substantially decreasing in Canada, following a spike in the lead-up to Canada Day the week prior. In Canada, demonstrations involving labor groups calling for better pay and working conditions constituted the largest share of activity last week. In the United States, ‘pro-choice’ demonstrations in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade continued to make up more than two-thirds of events last week, though they declined by almost half compared to the week prior. Meanwhile, demonstrations showing support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement more than doubled compared to the week prior, largely as a response to the release of body camera footage of the police killing of Jayland Walker (AP, 4 July 2022). Demonstrations in support of the BLM movement made up the second-largest share of demonstration events last week. Finally, reported far-right militia, militant social movement, and openly white supremacist activity declined last week.
In Canada, labor demonstrations continued at largely the same pace as the week prior, as workers called for improved pay and working conditions. In addition, several ‘pro-choice’ demonstrations were held in solidarity with American protesters, with some demonstrators calling for increased protections for abortion access in Canada (CBC, 5 July 2022).
In the United States, demonstrations in support of access to abortion continued to make up more than two-thirds of all demonstration activity last week. As in weeks prior, ‘pro-choice’ demonstrations overwhelmingly outnumbered ‘pro-life’ demonstrations last week by a factor of more than 10-to-one. Additionally, an incident of vandalism by ‘pro-choice’ supporters was reported last week: affiliates of Jane’s Revenge smashed glass doors and windows at the ‘pro-life’ Clearway Clinic in Worcester, Massachusetts, before tagging the group’s name near the clinic’s entrance (Boston Herald, 7 July 2022). This is at least the ninth instance of vandalism targeting ‘pro-life’ organizations since the beginning of June, and at least the fifth since Roe v. Wade was overturned on 24 June.
Militias and militant social groups continued to be active in abortion-related demonstrations last week. Members of the Proud Boys, along with several armed demonstrators, participated in a ‘Celebration of Life’ rally in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was also attended by ‘pro-choice’ counter-demonstrators (Salt Lake Tribune, 2 July 2022). Meanwhile, in Tempe, Arizona, the founder of AZ Patriots sprayed bear mace at a group of ‘pro-choice’ demonstrators and their children as she drove past them, injuring several (VICE, 8 July 2022). While one of the demonstrators was charged with disorderly conduct for putting her hand inside the perpetrator’s car, the AZ Patriots founder was booked by police later after turning herself in (Twitter @BrahmResnik, 7 July 2022) (for more on abortion-related demonstration trends, see this recent ACLED report).
Meanwhile, demonstrations in support of the BLM movement reached their highest levels since the week of 19 June 2021 — a week that saw both Juneteenth and the conviction of the police officer who murdered George Floyd. Demonstrations spiked after body camera footage of the police killing of Jayland Walker — a Black man shot to death in Akron, Ohio, on 27 June — was released on 3 July (CBS News, 3 July 2022). Though the vast majority of demonstrations in response to this incident remained peaceful, property destruction was reported at two demonstrations in Ohio and Oregon. In Akron, police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators and arrested 50 people, and Akron’s mayor instituted a two-day curfew in response (Washington Post, 4 July 2022). In Portland, Oregon, demonstrators also reportedly attacked a hotel security guard (KOIN, 4 July 2022).
Meanwhile, a gunman with a high-powered AR-15-style weapon opened fire at the crowd attending an Independence Day parade on 4 July in Highland Park, Illinois, outside of Chicago, leaving seven people dead and dozens wounded. The gunman attempted to escape, disguised as a woman, but was caught by police. The shooter confessed to the shooting and told authorities he “seriously contemplated” attacking another event in Madison, Wisconsin. A clear motive has not yet been identified. (Chicago Tribune, 5 July 2022; NPR, 7 July 2022).
Several instances of targeted destruction also took place last week. In Asheville, North Carolina, two explosive devices were detonated at the former site of the Vance Monument on 4 July, which was dismantled in 2021 following a controversy over North Carolina Governor Zebulon Baird Vance’s ties to slavery (WLOS, 31 May 2022). Police said the devices used were “IEDs similar to pipe bombs” (Spectrum Local News1, 5 July 2022). In Elberton, Georgia, an unknown perpetrator damaged the Georgia Guidestones, popularly known as the ‘American Stonehenge,’ with an explosive device. The monument is the subject of far-right conspiracy theories (Washington Post, 7 July 2022). In Saint Petersburg, Florida, a man was arrested after he used a flamethrower to set a Pan-African flag on fire outside the headquarters of Uhuru Movement, a group associated with the African People’s Socialist Party.
In Islip, New York, police are investigating a potential hate crime in which two unknown arsonists threw a Molotov cocktail-style device at a sign with a crescent, a known symbol of Islam, at the Fatima Al-Zahra mosque on 4 July, damaging the sign though not the mosque itself (Daily Voice, 5 July 2022). In Kansas City, Missouri, a set of rainbow doors, a sign of support for the LGBT+ community, outside the Kansas City United Church of Christ were vandalized with the words “pervs repentance” (KMBC, 7 July 2022). Elsewhere, in Oregon, a man and his five-year-old daughter, both of whom are of Japanese descent, were on a family bike ride when they were attacked by a man who punched the father in the head and the daughter on her helmet while shouting racial slurs. The attacker has since been charged with hate crimes (Washington Post, 6 July 2022). Meanwhile, several blocks from the United States Capitol in Washington, DC, a man threw a Molotov cocktail at two police officers who had approached him after receiving a tip that he was carrying Molotovs. These incidents, and the aforementioned events, contributed to a 33% increase in political violence events in the United States last week relative to the weekly average for the past month, as flagged by ACLED’s Conflict Change Map.
Reported far-right militia and militant social movement activity continued last week. On 2 July, the Verde Valley Preparedness Team, an Oath Keepers splinter group, held a recruitment meeting in Cottonwood, Arizona. The 1776 Restoration Movement (1776RM), an offshoot of the ‘People’s Convoy,’ was particularly active last week (Washington Post, 7 July 2022). In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, affiliates of the 1776RM, Three Percenters, Proud Boys, and Iron City Citizen Response Unit (ICCRU) members, including the group’s founder who was armed during the event, participated in a rally against COVID-19 vaccines, health mandates, and abortion access. Counter-demonstrators calling for ‘pro-choice’ policies were also present. The 1776RM was additionally involved in two demonstrations against COVID-19 public health mandates in Bunker Hill, West Virginia, and Washington, DC, where they were joined by Three Percenters. On the same day, Proud Boys member and 1776RM leader Dave ‘Santa’ Riddell was arrested due to an outstanding warrant (The Daily Beast, 6 July 2022).
Openly white supremacist groups were also active last week. In Boston, Massachusetts, approximately 100 members of Patriot Front marched along the Freedom Trail on 2 July with a banner that read “Reclaim America.” During the march, Patriot Front members attacked a Black man, pushing and knocking him to the ground and causing several lacerations to his hand and head (Axios, 3 July 2022). Patriot Front also dropped a banner in the predominately African American neighborhood of Fountain Heights in Birmingham, Alabama (CBS42, 4 July 2022). Patriot Front also held a sparring training on 8 July at an undisclosed location in north Texas. Meanwhile, between 30 and 40 bags of anti-Semitic flyers were found in a residential neighborhood of Scotia, California, on 7 July, promoting the Goyim Defense League.
Note: This dashboard automatically updates to cover the most recent data release. Use the date filters to view data for the period covered by this regional overview if necessary.
© 2022 Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED). All rights reserved.