June 12 (UPI) — Idaho police officers have arrested 31 people believed to be tied to the white nationalist group Patriot Front for conspiracy to riot at a Pride event in the city of Coeur d’Alene.
Police Chief Lee White told KXLY that a citizen had alerted police who developed probable cause to arrest them for possessing riot shields, smoke grenades and other gear.
Initial information showed that just one of those arrested was from Idaho while the rest had traveled from states as far as Virginia with the intention of rioting, according to KXLY.
Patriot Front, founded in the aftermath of the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, has been called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has said that Patriot Front “rehabilitated the explicitly fascist agenda of Vanguard America with garish patriotism” after founder Thomas Rousseau broke from Vanguard America.
Rousseau was among those arrested in Idaho and he has since been released on bond from the Kootenai County Jail, CNN reported.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has noted that Rousseau and his followers were frustrated with the organizers of the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville to prevent the displaying of swastikas and other Nazi imagery.
Rousseau and Patriot Front have instead sought to brand themselves as a mainstream, patriotic movement though still “staunchly white supremacist,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
An FBI spokesperson told CNN that the federal agency is helping the local police with their investigation.
* Article from: upi.com