New Zealand has designated the Proud Boys, the far-right American group that played a key role in the deadly assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, as a terrorist organization, making it illegal for New Zealanders to participate in or support its activities.
There was no evidence that the group was active in New Zealand, but its activities were observed in Australia and Canada, which designated the group as a terrorist organization last year.
New Zealand’s prime minister can designate groups as terrorist organizations if they have carried out even one terrorist act, and the government believes that the Proud Boys’ involvement in the January 6 attack “qualifies as a terrorist act,” the statement said. statement dated 20 June. It stated that the group’s “far-right ideology was based on racist and fascist principles” and that it displayed a constant propensity for violence.
The New Zealand government has also classified the Base, a distinct American white supremacist group, as a terrorist organization. statement from 20 June. He called the group “a neo-Nazi, accelerationist, paramilitary, survivalist group planning and intent on causing the collapse of the US government” and stated that he was trying to expand into Australia.
“These are white supremacist terrorist groups and we don’t believe and I don’t think New Zealanders believe that any New Zealander should encourage and support them,” Police Minister Chris Hipkins said Thursday. based on materialsnews release in New Zealand.
While these groups were not known to be active in New Zealand, the country has been on high alert for extremism since a man professing nationalist hatred of whites shot dead 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch in 2019. The attack was not directly related to the terrorist attack. specific group, but the shooter was immersed in the language of online extremism.
The New Zealand government has described the Proud Boys’ methods as “crypto-fascist”, covering white nationalist tropes with obfuscation, humor and irony to offer plausible deniability to its members and increase its appeal to “mainstream” or “normal” people. The government said that under the cloak of disguise, the group is resorting to violence against their perceived political enemies.
In recent years, governments have increasingly viewed white nationalist groups as a threat. In 2020, the Trump administration designated the Russian Imperial Movement, an ultra-nationalist group based in Russia, as a terrorist organization, making it the first time in the United States that the label has been applied to a white supremacist group.
The United States has not classified the Proud Boys or Base as terrorist organizations. But more than 40 members of the Proud Boys have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, including several of their leaders who face sedition charges.
A New York Times investigation found that members of the group acted in a coordinated manner, irritated other protesters, and directly joined in the violence, playing an aggressive role in several violations of the Capitol. Prosecutors said the Proud Boys began planning the attack as early as December 19, 2020; Lawyers for the Proud Boys deny they conspired to attack the Capitol.