On Saturday afternoon, a white nationalist group demonstrated by walking through the National Mall as police escorted them towards the final destination in a Wal-Mart parking structure.
The group, known as Patriot Front, rallied around a hundred members for the demonstration. In white masks, khakis, and sunglasses, they concealed their identities as they marched.
While dozens of police officers flanked the marchers, some walking and others on bicycle, it remains unclear whether they obtained a permit. a District of Columbia Metropolitan Police spokesperson said no record of such a permit existed.
Likely as a result of the police presence, no incidents occurred. While the group received jeers from passersby, no counter-protest met them.
Critics cite similarities with other white nationalist, as well as gun rights, rallies across the country. Police often exhibit restraint for these groups, whereas left-leaning protests receive harsher treatment.
White Nationalist Group’s Record
Patriot Front is known for various acts of crime. They differentiate themselves from other, more violent groups calling for outright war. Patriot Front’s tactics include secret communication, vandalism, and intimidation. However, they often speak favorably of terrorists like the individual who killed a woman at the 2017 Charlottesville protests. Some have been arrested for owning illegal firearms.
As part of the group’s ideology, members believe in a white America and a fascistic government to achieve it. It’s founder, Thomas Rousseau, a 22-year-old from Dallas, Texas, argues in favor of recruiting white men to the cause rather than committing acts of violence. He expresses a desire for political intervention, hoping movements like his manage to ascend to power.
Their propaganda efforts define their strategy, pasting stickers and distributing fliers in an effort to grow their following.
Present estimates put their number at around 300. They face stiff competition, as similar groups proliferate under our present political climate.
While their messaging assumes a hostile environment keen on their “annihilation,” Saturday’s march indicates anything but.