White-nationalist group members charged with planning riot at Idaho pride event

by Reuters
Monday, 13 June 2022 09:05 GMT

A police officer holds one of a group of men, among 31 arrested for conspiracy to riot and affiliated with the white nationalist group Patriot Front, after they were found in the rear of a U Haul van in the vicinity of a North Idaho Pride Alliance LGBTQ+ event in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, U.S. June 11, 2022. REUTERS/John Rudoff

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More than two dozen members of white nationalist group Patriot Front face charges over conspiracy to riot during a pride event

June 11 (Reuters) - Police in northwest Idaho arrested more than two dozen members of a white nationalist group on Saturday and charged them with planning to stage a riot near a LGBTQ pride event, authorities said.

Lee White, police chief in the city of Coeur D'Alene, told reporters 31 members of Patriot Front face misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to riot and additional charges could come later.

A local resident spotted the men, wearing white masks and carrying shields, getting into a U-Haul truck and called police, telling the emergency dispatcher it "looked like a little army," according to White. Police pulled the truck over about 10 minutes after the call.

Video taken at the scene of the arrest and posted online showed about 20 men kneeling next to the truck with their hands bound, wearing similar khaki pants, blue shirts, white masks and baseball caps.

Police recovered at least one smoke grenade and documents that included an "operations plan" from the truck, as well as shields and shin guards, all of which made their intentions clear, White said.

"They came to riot downtown," he said.

The men come from at least 11 states, White said, including Texas, Colorado and Virginia.

Patriot Front formed in the aftermath of the 2017 white nationalist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, when it broke off from another extremist organization, Vanguard America, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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