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US white supremacists arrested on conspiracy to riot near Idaho gay Pride event

Idaho Police found “shields, shin guards and other riot gear” with the 31 members of the Patriot Front hate group as they approached a Pride event

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell

Authorities said 31 individuals affiliated with the white supremacist group Patriot Front have been arrested in the US state of Idaho and charged with plotting to riot at an LGBTQ+ Pride event on Saturday (11 June).

All 31 individuals were seen gathering near Coeur d’Alene’s Pride in the Park event, held by North Idaho Pride Alliance.

According to BBC reports, police were tipped off about the presence of Patriot Front members that “looked like a little army” by a local Coeur d’Alene resident who had spotted the men in a U-Haul with riot gear.

“They came to riot downtown,” the Coeur d’Alene Police Chief, Lee White, said at a news conference according to ​​CNN reports (12 June).

White continued that it was clear the 31 individuals were planning to riot “based on the gear that the individuals had with them, the stuff they had in their possession, the U-Haul with them along with paperwork that was seized from them.”

Police found “shields, shin guards and other riot gear with them,” White said. Adding: they wore arm patches and logos on their hats that identified them as members of the Patriot Front.

Those arrested came from at least 11 states – including Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia and Arkansas – with only one arrested being from Idaho, White said.

Described by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, the Patriot Front is “a white nationalist hate group” formed in 2017 after the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Patriot Front’s manifesto calls for the formation of a white ethnostate in the United States, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center which adds that the group “focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country.

The North Idaho Pride Alliance released a statement on Sunday (12 June), saying, “As a small community nonprofit, North Idaho Pride Alliance is taking a much-needed day of rest after successfully organizing a momentous, joyful, and SAFE Pride in the Park community celebration under the most challenging of circumstances.”

The statement continued, “We are deeply grateful to law enforcement agencies who were present and professionally responded throughout the day to keep our community safe.”

The event was one of the largest Pride in the Park events in its six-year history, North Idaho Pride Alliance told KXLY.