The right-wing “Proud Boys” have always been there at the recent pro-Trump demonstrations in Washington. Now their leader has been arrested – before another demonstration.
The leader of the right-wing radical group “Proud Boys” was arrested in Washington before a planned demonstration by supporters of the elected US President Donald Trump. The police in the US capital said that Henry “Enrique” Tarrio had an arrest warrant on charges of property damage on the sidelines of a pro-Trump demonstration in Washington last month. The 36-year-old also carried two gun magazines with him, which is illegal in Washington.
The Washington Post reported that the property damage allegation related to the burning of a “Black Lives Matter” banner that was stolen from a church. Tarrio told the newspaper at the time that he was one of those who burned the banner.
Arrested before a pro-Trump demonstration
Police said Tarrio – who lives in Miami – was arrested on Monday (local time) when he came to the capital, where Trump supporters again called for a demonstration on Wednesday. Trump shared a call on Twitter to participate in the protest near the White House on Monday. On the same day, Congress is due to certify the result of the November 3rd presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden.
Republican Trump and many of his supporters do not recognize Biden’s election victory. They claim there was massive election fraud for which there is no evidence. Thousands of Trump supporters had already gathered in Washington at two demonstrations in December and November, including numerous supporters of the “Proud Boys”. Occasional clashes occurred on the fringes of the protests.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser urged capital residents on Monday to avoid confrontations with violent demonstrators. She advised staying away from the protests area next Wednesday.
US President encourages “Proud Boys”
Trump had sparked enthusiasm in the right spectrum with statements about the “Proud Boys” during the election campaign. In a TV debate with Biden, he refused to clearly condemn right-wing groups. “Who should I judge?” Asked the President at the time. Biden then threw in the name “Proud Boys”. Trump then said: “” Proud Boys “- hold back and be ready.”
The Trump camp then wanted this to be understood as a call against violence. According to media reports, however, the “Proud Boys” felt encouraged by the statement. At the recent pro-Trump demonstrations in Washington, members of the group contributed T-Shirts in Trump’s words. Tarrio, who grew up in Florida, describes himself as an Afro-Cuban and an “American Supremacist”.
The US civil rights organization ADL classifies the “Proud Boys” as an unconventional current in right-wing American extremism. The group can be described as violent, nationalist and Islamophobic, among other things, according to the ADL. Members are known to use violent tactics. Several of them have been convicted of violent crimes.