Last week in the United States and Canada, demonstration activity increased slightly in the United States while declining by roughly a quarter in Canada following a spike in activity the week prior. In Canada, demonstration events led by Indigenous groups made up the largest share of demonstrations, surging around 30 September, when Canada observes the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In the United States, labor demonstrations calling for better pay and working conditions continued to make up the largest share of events for at least the seventh consecutive week. Demonstrations in support of the LGBT+ community more than tripled compared to the week prior, making up the second-largest share of events last week. Meanwhile, demonstrations against the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran continued in both countries. Finally, reported far-right, militant social movement, and openly white supremacist activity in the United States declined moderately last week compared to the week prior.
In Canada, demonstrations led by Indigenous groups spiked last week to their highest levels since the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was observed in 2021. About two-thirds of all demonstration events recorded across the country last week were related to honoring residential school victims and survivors, and called on Canada to do more to address its legacy (CBC, 29 September 2022). Demonstrations against the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran declined last week, though they continued to make up the second-largest share of demonstration events in Canada.
Meanwhile, Alberta Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested the leader of the far-right Diagolon movement on 28 September in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He had been linked to a plot to murder RCMP officers during the convoy blockade in Coutts, Alberta, in February 2022, and was charged with assault, pointing a firearm, and other crimes stemming from an incident near Viscount in November 2021 (Global News, 28 September 2022).
In the United States, labor-related demonstrations made up the largest share of events last week. Notably, following more than eight weeks of sustained demonstrations by the United Food Workers, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation on 28 September to streamline the unionization process for farm workers. Newsom’s decision came despite a spokesperson having previously indicated that he would veto the legislation (LA Times, 28 September 2022).
Demonstration events in solidarity with the LGBT+ community increased significantly last week. The increase was driven in large part by student-led walkouts with accompanying demonstrations across Virginia over Governor Glenn Youngkin’s plan to reverse policies designed to protect transgender students (WUSA9, 27 September 2022). Demonstrations in support of LGBT+ rights last week reached their highest levels since early March, which saw a spike in similar walkouts with accompanying demonstrations led by high school students in Florida, protesting the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation. In addition, demonstrations against the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran nearly doubled last week, making up the third-largest share of events.
Demonstration events calling for improved conditions for prisoners also increased significantly. A majority of these demonstrations took place in New York, where protesters organized against a new program in the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision that aims to crack down on contraband in correctional facilities. Protesters raised concerns that their loved ones would no longer have access to the items they need and want, as family members would be barred from delivering packages during in-person visits (Spectrum News, 27 September 2022).
Meanwhile, several violent incidents took place in the United States last week. On 24 September, police officers fatally shot a Black man in Phoenix, Arizona, after they said the man threw rocks at their patrol vehicle and then at the officers directly. The man’s family said that he was suffering from a mental illness (AZ Central, 29 September 2022). On 27 September, two men, including the warden of the West Texas Detention Center (WTDC), shot at a group of migrants near Sierra Blanca, Texas, reportedly killing a man and injuring a woman. They were later charged with manslaughter. According to the migrants, the men called in Spanish for them to “come out” of the roadside brush where they were hiding, then revved their truck, possibly to make the migrants believe they were leaving. According to the migrants’ accounts of the incident, shots were fired after they began to emerge from hiding; however, the two men claimed they were shooting at animals (New York Times, 29 September 2022). The WTDC has previously been the subject of several allegations of violence against immigrants (The Intercept, 24 March 2018).
Multiple targeted instances of property destruction also took place last week. On 24 September, an unknown perpetrator smashed the windows of the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida in Gainesville, leaving behind a note with anti-LGBT+ hate speech (WUFT, 25 September 2022). The following day, a Planned Parenthood in Gainesville was similarly vandalized, leaving multiple windows shattered (Yahoo News, 26 September 2022). In Shoreline, Washington, unknown perpetrators smashed several windows of a Black-owned coffee shop and vandalized the property. This coffee shop has been the target of multiple incidents of racist vandalism in the past (FOX 13 Seattle, 28 September 2022).
Reported far-right and militant social movement activity in the United States declined last week compared to the week prior. On 24 September, the Verde Valley Preparedness Team held a recruitment and public information event in Cottonwood, Arizona. Elsewhere in Arizona, the Yavapai County Preparedness Team and Chino Valley Preparedness Team held similar meetings in Chino Valley. Meanwhile, members of the 1776 Restoration Movement demonstrated in Washington, DC against the prosecution of participants in the 6 January 2021 Capitol riot. In Texas, members of the Proud Boys, Protect Texas Kids, Patriot Front, and the neo-Nazi Aryan Freedom Network demonstrated against a bingo event hosted by drag queens held at First Christian Church in Katy. This marks the second reported anti-LGBT+ protest involving the Aryan Freedom Network in Texas in recent weeks.
Members of Patriot Front held sparring trainings in eastern Virginia, eastern Massachusetts, northern Utah, eastern Oklahoma, and northern Colorado. Around 25 September, they dropped a banner reading “For the Nation, Against the State,” and handed out flyers reading “no more foreign wars” in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The next day, members of the group held a food drive in Boston, Massachusetts. Meanwhile, on 25 September, the Goyim Defense League dropped over 300 bags with anti-Semitic flyers in Ann Arbor, Michigan (CBS, 3 October 2022). Around 29 September, members of Patriot Front dropped additional banners at overpasses in Virginia Beach, reading “America is not for sale” and “Better Dead than Red.”
Note: This dashboard automatically updates to cover the latest four weeks of data released by ACLED. Use the date filters to view data for the one-week period covered by this Regional Overview.