Videos posted to social media showed hundreds of members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front march to the United States Capitol carrying shields and battle drums on Saturday.
At least 150 members of the far-right group, wearing masks to conceal their identity, were seen marching along the National Mall and in downtown Washington, D.C. Videos posted to Twitter showed them carrying American flags and holding signs that read, “Reclaim America.”
The march comes as experts warn about the rise of white supremacist groups and sentiment in the United States. According to a study from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) published in March, there was a 38 percent increase in white supremacist activity from 2021 to 2022, with more than 6,700 incidents reported throughout the year.
In the videos, police officers were seen escorting Patriot Front members in order to separate them from counter-protesters. Police had not publicly said whether any arrests were made or if there were any incidents during the march.
Tweets posted to the social media platform showing the march were viewed millions of times by Sunday afternoon.
Newsweek reached out to the Capitol police for comment via email.
Journalist Ford Fischer, the editor-in-chief of News2Share, which reported on the march, tweeted that Patriot Front “generally shows up unannounced to other groups’ protests or holds their own without seeking permits in an attempt to avoid press or counter-protesters.”
Many took to Twitter to condemn the march. The organization Republicans Against Trump tweeted on Sunday, “Hundreds of fascists from the Patriot Front white nationalist movement were marching yesterday through the National Mall in Washington D.C. Sadly, they’re welcomed in today’s GOP. They desperately need Trump back in the WH. We must not let it happen.”
Who Are The Patriot Front?
The ADL describes the Patriot Front as a “white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them, and no one else.”
The organization was founded in Texas in 2017 by Thomas Rousseau and has since been involved in a number of right-wing demonstrations including the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to the ADL.
The organization spreads propaganda over the internet, as well as through fliers and posters, and has been responsible for the majority of white supremacist propaganda in recent years, according to the ADL. Members of the organization “define themselves as American fascists or American nationalists who are focused on preserving America’s identity as a European-American one.”
Last June, 31 Patriot Front members, including Rosseau, were detained by police in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, after attempting to crash an LGBTQ+ Pride Festival event. Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said his officers found an “operations plan” in a U-Hal that indicated they planned to start a riot at the event.