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Protesters in Michigan and other states claim to speak for ordinary citizens, but are also supported by street-fighting far-right groups

The rightwing groups behind wave of protests against Covid-19 restrictions | The Guardian |

While protesters in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and other states claim to speak for ordinary citizens, many are also supported by street-fighting rightwing groups like the Proud Boys, conservative armed militia groups, religious fundamentalists, anti-vaccination groups and other elements of the radical right.

Placards identified the Michigan Proud Boys as participants in the vehicle convoy. Near the state house, local radio interviewed a man who identified himself as "Phil Odinson".

In fact the man is Phil Robinson, the prime mover in a group called the Michigan Liberty Militia, whose Facebook page features pictures of firearms, warnings of civil war, celebrations of Norse paganism and memes ultimately sourced from white nationalist groups like Patriot Front.

The pattern of rightwing not-for-profits promoting public protests while still more radical groups use lockdown resistance as a platform for extreme rightwing causes looks set to continue in events advertised in other states over coming days.

In Idaho on Friday, protesters plan to gather at the capitol building in Boise to protest anti-virus restrictions put in place by the Republican governor, Brad Little.

The protest has been heavily promoted by the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF), which counts among its donors "dark money" funds linked to the Koch brothers such as Donors Capital Fund, and Castle Rock foundation, a seeded with part of the fortune of Adolph Coors, the rightwing beer magnate.


Hazardous Liberty link ...

In Washington state, meanwhile, which for now has brought one of the worst outbreaks in the country under a measure of control, a Republican state committeeman, Tyler Miller, has organized a protest at the state capitol on Saturday.

Miller, who is active in the Kitsap county Republican party, was involved in passing a resolution in January in support of representative Matt Shea, who was excluded from the state house's GOP caucus after a report commissioned by house found that he had participated in domestic terrorism.

Hundreds of Facebook users have indicated that they will be attending his "Hazardous Liberty" rally, and a parallel event in Richland, Washington.

Included in that number are members of the 3% of Washington, a group which has held a series of open-carry rallies in Seattle, featuring speeches from the far-right protest leader, Joey Gibson.


by Oui on Mon Apr 20th, 2020 at 05:46:32 AM EST

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