Authorities arrested 31 members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front near a Pride event in Idaho on Saturday after they were found wrapped in protective gear in the back of a U-Haul truck.
The men were standing in the truck in khaki pants, navy blue shirts and beige hats with white balaclavas covering their faces when Coeur d’Alene police stopped the U-Haul and began arresting them at the side of the road.
“They came to riot downtown,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said at a news conference.
All 31 were charged with conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor, White said. The men went through the booking process on Saturday afternoon and are due to be charged on Monday, he said.
Based on accumulated evidence and documents, authorities determined the group planned to riot in multiple areas of downtown, not just the park, White said.
Police found riot gear, a smoke grenade, shin guards and shields in the van, White said. They wore arm badges and logos on their hats that identified them as members of the Patriot Front, he said.
Police learned about the U-Haul from a tipster who reported that “it looked like a small army was loading into the vehicle” in a hotel parking lot, White said. Officers spotted the truck shortly after and stopped it, he said.
Videos of the arrest, released on social media, show the men kneeling on the lawn with their hands tied behind their backs.
“Reclaim America” was written on the back of a t-shirt.
The police led the men one by one in front of the squad cars, removed their masks, and then took them to a police car.
Those arrested were from at least 11 states, including Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia and Arkansas, White said.
Only one is from Idaho, he said.
The truck was stopped near where the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding the Coeur d’Alene Pride in the Park event. The police had increased their presence in the area during the event.
“It appears that these people did not come here to participate in peaceful events,” Kootenai County Sheriff Bob Norris told a reporter for Coeur d’Alene Press.
The Patriot Front is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “white nationalist hate group” that formed after the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Patriot Front focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can easily be circulated across the country as propaganda for its local chapters,” the Southern Poverty Law Center said of the group.
The group’s manifesto calls for the formation of a white ethnostate in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center said.
(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed, or redistributed.)
https://whdh.com/news/31-members-of-white-nationalist-group-arrested-near-idaho-pride-event/ 31 White Nationalist Group Members Arrested Near Idaho Pride Event – Boston News, Weather, Sports