Who caused violence at the George Floyd protests? It wasn’t antifa. | The Fact Checker
During the day, protests in the United States take place in a predominantly peaceful environment. They involve people of all backgrounds and ages, including mothers who fear that the fate of George Floyd may befall their sons..
However, at night, protests often become more aggressive, resulting in looting and vandalism. There are cases of gunshot wounds among the police. The demonstrators, in turn, accuse the police of being too harsh and insist that they are only defending themselves against them..
Who is behind the acts of violence?
By contrast, some Democratic governors blame the far-right, recalling a recent decision «Twitter» block an account associated with Identity Evropa for inciting violence.
This and other similar accounts published provocative false information, accusing the authorities and ISPs of censoring news about the protests.. «Facebook» this week also announced the blocking of a number of accounts associated with nationalist organizations following their calls to take up arms at the demonstration.
Meanwhile, in some states, including Minnesota, Texas and Pennsylvania, members of the so-called Boogaloo movement, uniting both far-right and ultra-left elements, are coming to protests. Some of them call for civil disobedience and try to incite political divisions in the hope of disrupting the current political order in the country..
Researchers from «Anti-extremism project» note that white supremacists and neo-Nazis are content with the chaos in the streets. IN «Telegram»-the channel of one neo-Nazi group with 5,500 subscribers noted that a major protest – perfect opportunity to kill. Another channel writes that now is the right time to attack synagogues while law enforcement is busy with protests..
However, it is not yet clear to what extent radical groups manage to provoke violence..
John Miller, NYC Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, believes anarchists and radicals are fueling the ire of New Yorkers: «Before the start of the protests, the organizers of some anarchist groups planned to collect money to pay the bail and were looking for people who would be responsible for this collection. They also looked for medics, expecting clashes with the police.».
Law enforcement agencies in a number of other cities and states believe that more radical elements associated with other states are being introduced into the ranks of mainly peaceful local demonstrators. However, they still find it difficult to say how much these agitators influence the course of events on the streets..
According to analysts and researchers, it will take time to determine which groups were involved in these events..
«America is now a very fragmented and divided socio-political landscape, and given the stressful state of institutions, the pandemic and the upcoming elections, I am deeply convinced that it is time for us to reevaluate the threat matrix. There is a huge pool of potential extremists», – warns professor of criminal justice at California State University in San Bernardino and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism Brian Levin