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A petition on whitehouse.gov urging the president to formally recognize Antifa as a terrorist group surpassed 300,000 signatures Sunday.
“Terrorism is defined as ‘the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims,” the petition states. Justifying the designation, it goes on: “AntiFa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States.”
Earlier that Sunday, Antifa had attacked innocent protesters at a rally in Berkeley. This caused even the Washington Post to write the headline “Black-clad Antifa members attack peaceful right-wing demonstrators.”
But violence from the group occurred many times over the past several months. As the Daily Wire reports, Antifa first gained notoriety back in January during President Trump’s inauguration. The far left group rioted, attacking shops and trashing the streets. They injured several police officers and even set a Muslim immigrant’s limousine on fire.
In February, at a Milo Yiannopoulos event in Berkeley, the group again appeared, setting fires and smashing windows. They pepper sprayed a young woman while she was giving an interview and injured other attendees.
Over the next few months, Antifa continued to riot, twice more in Berkeley and once in Portland. As The Daily Wire notes, however, there were many other smaller instances where the group appeared.
According to some reports as well as individuals on the ground, even the Charlottesville rally earlier in August was largely peaceful until Antifa showed up and starting throwing rocks and other projectiles at the protestors.
Antifa members consistently defend violence against peaceful individuals as an act of self-defense, as long as those individuals hold beliefs that Antifa deems “fascist.”
For example, BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) organizer Yvette Felarca stated “Standing up to fascism and the rise of Nazism and fascism in this country is not a crime [. . .] We have a right to defend ourselves.” This was in response to the charge that she along with a group of others had violently attacked a white nationalist on the street, which was caught on video.
Professor Mark Bray, a self-described Antifa “ally,” criticized labeling actions by the group as offensive violence. He stated “I wouldn’t characterize my political perspective as being ‘violent protests’ so much as community self defense.”
Petitions on the White House website can be formed by anyone. However, only those that reach over 100,000 signatures will receive a direct answer from the administration. While the petition to declare Antifa a terrorist organization reached 100,000 more than a week ago, additional signatures serve to show that the idea has popular support.