United States & Canada
Posted: 5 May 2023
United States: Ongoing far-right militia, militant social movement, and white supremacist training events and other activities
Far-right, militant social movement, and white supremacist activity decreased by a third in April compared to the month prior, largely due to a decline in Patriot Front’s banner drop and training events. In Arizona, far-right activity declined by roughly a quarter, despite the Lions of Liberty, Maricopa County Preparedness Team, Chino Valley Preparedness Team, Yavapai County Preparedness Team, and the Verde Valley Preparedness Team holding multiple information and recruitment meetings. Veterans on Patrol (VOP) activity significantly decreased, with the group conducting five patrols near the border with Mexico around Sasabe, Arizona. On one patrol, the group was accompanied by Idaho State Senator Phil Hart of the Republican Party, marking the first time an elected official has been recorded at a VOP patrol since ACLED began collecting data in 2020.
Separately, members of the Proud Boys also vandalized the windows of a Lutheran church in Fresno, California, which had received numerous threats over its pro-LGBTQ+ stance. Patriot Front’s reported banner drop and training activities significantly decreased in April compared to March. The white nationalist group dropped banners across at least four states and held sparring training sessions in at least eight states, including Kansas, marking the group’s first recorded activity in the state. Patriot Front members also posted propaganda to their channels documenting their assistance in tornado disaster recovery efforts in Mississippi and Arkansas.
Meanwhile, demonstrators associated with white supremacy and White Lives Matter engaged in physical altercations during an anti-LGBTQ+ demonstration in Washington, DC. Members of the New Columbia Movement and Protect Texas Kids also participated in an anti-LGBTQ+ demonstration in Fort Worth, Texas. The Goyim Defense League distributed antisemitic fliers in eight states, with more than a third of these incidents taking place in Florida. In addition, the Highland Division, a Scottish white supremacist group, and the Nationalist Social Club-131 (NSC-131) separately distributed antisemitic fliers. NSC-131 members also held a demonstration in Maine in support of white supremacy.
United States: Gun control demonstrations increase following several recent mass shootings
In April, demonstrations calling for gun reform increased fourfold compared to the previous month, largely in response to mass shootings, especially the 27 March Covenant School shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. This shooting triggered demonstrations across the country, resulting in the highest level of gun control events in a single month since the June 2022 rallies following the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas in late May 2022. More than half of all of the demonstrations in April were organized by Students Demand Action, a youth-led group campaigning to end gun violence, and around 13% of demonstrations calling for gun control occurred in Tennessee — where the Covenant School shooting took place — making up the largest share of any state during the month. Following a 30 March demonstration at the state capitol, the Tennessee House of Representatives called for the expulsions of State Representatives Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, and Gloria Johnson of the Democratic Party due to their participation. The House voted to expel State Representatives Jones and Pearson, but they were both later reappointed by their respective local legislative bodies.1Eliza Fawcett and Emily Cochrane, ‘Tennessee House Expulsions: What You Need to Know.’ New York Times, 13 April 2023
Canada: Labor-related demonstrations spike due to federal government workers’ strike
Labor-related demonstrations in Canada more than doubled compared to the previous month. On 19 April, more than 150,000 federal government workers began a strike to call for higher wages and a universal work-from-home policy.2Michelle Gomez, ‘Federal workers strike highlights desire for work-from-home flexibility.’ CBC, 26 April 2023 This strike, led by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), drove the highest levels of labor-related demonstrations since ACLED began collecting data on Canada in 2021. This single-month spike is over 30% higher than the February 2022 ‘Freedom Convoy’ demonstrations against COVID-19 mandates. Demonstrations led by the PSAC occurred in every province and territory in Canada, with the highest concentration of demonstrations reported in Ontario, where nearly a third of all PSAC pickets took place. After close to two weeks of strike action, the PSAC and the federal government reached a tentative agreement on 1 May, ending the strike.3Michael Woods, ‘What you need to know about the agreement that ended the PSAC strike.’ CTV News, 1 May 2023.
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