Last week in the United States and Canada, demonstration activity slightly decreased in the United States and moderately increased in Canada. Labor-related demonstrations made up the largest share of events in both Canada and the United States. Meanwhile, the number of demonstrations in Canada related to the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran more than tripled compared to the week prior. In the United States, demonstrations led by environmental groups increased sharply last week, while anti-LGBT+ demonstrations also increased. Meanwhile, multiple violent incidents, including attacks targeting politicians, were recorded around the country. Finally, reported militia, militant social movement, and openly white supremacist activity in the United States continued at a stable rate compared to the week prior.
In Canada, demonstrations related to the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran and the subsequent protest movement surged last week. Demonstrations were recorded in at least seven provinces, with the highest number of events since the initial spike in activity following Amini’s death in September. Meanwhile, labor-related demonstrations more than doubled last week. This increase was largely the result of an increase in teacher-led demonstrations, including several in Nova Scotia, where teaching staff are striking to demand higher wages.
In the United States, demonstration events led by environmental groups roughly doubled compared to the week prior. More than a third of all environmental demonstrations last week were met with police intervention. In New York City, police arrested demonstrators for trespassing and blocking traffic during a series of demonstrations that targeted investment groups and called on them to stop funding projects that exacerbate climate change.
Meanwhile, demonstrations against LGBT+ rights increased slightly last week compared to the week prior. Roughly a third of all anti-LGBT+ events during the week saw the involvement of far-right groups. On 22 October, Protect Texas Kids organized a demonstration against gender-affirming care, which was also attended by at least one member of the Groypers. In Eugene, Oregon, members of the Proud Boys, Rose City Nationalists, and other white nationalist groups similarly participated in a 23 October demonstration against a drag event, which saw demonstrators clash with anti-fascists. Members of the Proud Boys were also present alongside anti-transgender organizations at a 25 October anti-drag demonstration in Redlands, California.
At least one violent incident targeting the LGBT+ community was also recorded last week. A man yelled racial slurs and made derogatory comments about a Black woman’s sexuality, pushed her to the ground, and punched her repeatedly outside a bar in Grayslake, Illinois. The man was later charged with a hate crime.
Two incidents of violence targeting political figures were recorded during the week. On 28 October, a man broke into the San Francisco, California home of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacked her husband, Paul Pelosi, hitting him several times on the head with a hammer. Pelosi suffered severe injuries from the attack but is expected to recover fully. San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins says that Nancy Pelosi was the intended target of the “politically motivated” attack though the investigation into the perpetrator is still ongoing (CBS, 1 November 2022). Meanwhile, on 25 October, a man punched Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe in the chest after his speech at the Antioch Chamber of Commerce. The man attempted to punch the mayor a second time but was prevented by bystanders. Mayor Thorpe says he was not injured in the attack and claimed it was sparked by a dispute over the man’s failed efforts to recall him (CBS News, 25 October 2022).
At least one incident of antisemitic violence also took place last week. On 23 October, a man on a bicycle hit a Hasidic teenager in the head in an unprovoked attack in Brooklyn, New York. Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime (New York Post, 25 October 2022). ACLED has recorded more than a dozen incidents of political violence targeting the Jewish community so far in 2022.
A 19-year-old gunman armed with a rifle shot and reportedly killed one student and one teacher at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in Saint Louis, Missouri, last week before being killed in an exchange of gunfire with police. In a note, the gunman claimed his attack was motivated by feelings of isolation and loneliness.
These trends contributed to a 500% increase in violent events in the United States over the past week relative to the weekly average for the preceding month, as flagged by ACLED’s Conflict Change Map.
Suspected voter intimidation and harassment in the lead-up to next week’s midterm elections also took place last week, including several ‘ballot watching’ incidents. On 24 and 26 October, ‘ballot watchers’ took photos of people dropping off their early voting ballots in Mesa, Arizona. Meanwhile, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Independent Gubernatorial Candidate Charles Van Morgan was arrested after police were called about a disturbance outside the Hamilton County Election Commission. Van Morgan, who police say was armed at the time of arrest, was charged with voter intimidation, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest (Knox News, 27 October 2022) (for more, see ACLED’s report Far-Right Violence and the American Midterm Elections).
Reported far-right militia and militant social movement activity in the United States continued last week at a similar rate to the week prior. On 22 October, the Yavapai County Preparedness Team, the Lions of Liberty, and Verde Valley Preparedness Team held recruitment meetings in Arizona.
Members of the Proud Boys clashed with an antifascist group at the University of California at Davis on 25 October, after they arrived to counter a demonstration against a Turning Point USA event at the university. On 24 October, an event where Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes was scheduled to speak at Pennsylvania State University was canceled after members of the Proud Boys and other supporters of the event clashed with students protesting the event.
Openly white supremacist activity also continued last week in the United States. Members of Patriot Front dropped banners on overpasses in Utah and Georgia. The Goyim Defense League (GDL) dropped an antisemitic banner on an overpass over the I-405 in Los Angeles, California, supporting recent comments made by rapper Kanye West that have been widely condemned as antisemitic. The GDL also dropped antisemitic flyers in the Westwood and Beverly Hills neighborhoods of Los Angeles. On 25 October, they dropped similar antisemitic flyers in residential neighborhoods in Carrollton, Georgia, and Raleigh, North Carolina.
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.