Antifa designated as terrorist organisation
US President Donald Trump said that America is designating far-left extremist group Antifa as a terrorist organisation in view of its role in violence across the country after the killing of a black man by a white police officer in Minnesota. Antifa, regarded as a militant, left-wing, anti-fascist political activist movement in the US, comprises autonomous activist groups that aim to achieve their political objectives through the use of direct action rather than through policy reforms. The United States of America will be designating Antifa as a terrorist organisation.
- The Trump administration is blaming this far-left extremist group for the sudden spike in violent protests across the country after the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
- The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly, Attorney General William P Barr said.
- The Trump administration alleges that it appears the violence is planned, organized and driven by anarchistic and far left extremists using Antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from out of state to promote the violence.
- To identify criminal organisers and instigators, and to coordinate federal resources with state and local partners, federal law enforcement is using the existing network of 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF), the Attorney General said.
- With the rioting that is occurring in many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful and legitimate protests have been hijacked by violent radical elements. Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent and extremist agenda.
- It is time to stop watching the violence and to confront and stop it. The continued violence and destruction of property endangers the lives and livelihoods of others, and interferes with the rights of peaceful protestors, as well as all other citizens.
- It also undercuts the urgent work that needs to be done through constructive engagement between affected communities and law enforcement leaders to address legitimate grievances.
- Preventing reconciliation and driving us apart is the goal of these radical groups, and we cannot let them succeed.
What is Antifa?
- Antifa - short for anti-fascist action - is a protest movement that strongly opposes neo-Nazis, fascism, white supremacists and racism.
- It is considered to be a loosely organised group of activists with no leaders.
- Most members oppose all forms of racism and sexism, and strongly oppose what they see as the nationalist, anti-immigration and anti-Muslim policies that Mr Trump has enacted.
- Anti-government and anti-capitalist, Antifa's members are often perceived as more closely aligned with anarchists than the mainstream left.
- The movement gained new prominence in the US for its role in confronting white supremacists at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
- President Trump drew widespread criticism when he said there was violence on "many sides" in Charlottesville and initially neglected to explicitly censure the white supremacists who organised the rally.