New Zealand has declared the Proud Boys, the American far-right group that played a key role in the deadly takeover of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, a terrorist organization, making it illegal for them to New Zealanders participate or support their activities.
There was no evidence the group was operating in New Zealand, but its activity has been observed in Australia and Canada, which designated the group a terrorist organization last year.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister can designate groups as terrorist entities if they have carried out at least one terrorist act, and the government believed that the Proud Boys’ involvement in the January 6 attack was “consistent with the definition of a terrorist act.” “, he said in a declaration of June 20. He said the group’s “far-right ideology was based on racist and fascist principles” and that it had shown a consistent penchant for violence.
The New Zealand government has also classified Base, a separate American white supremacist group, as a terrorist organization in a declaration of June 20. He called the group a “neo-Nazi, accelerationist, paramilitary and survival group that plans and intends to bring about the collapse of the United States government” and said it had tried 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 allow and support them,” Police Minister Chris Hipkins said Thursday. according to thingsa media outlet in New Zealand.
Although the groups were not known to be active in New Zealand, the country has been on high alert for extremism since a man espousing white nationalist hatred shot and killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch in 2019. The attack was not directly associated with a specific group, but the gunman was immersed in the language of extremism online.
The New Zealand government described the Proud Boys’ techniques as “crypto-fascist”, covering white nationalist tropes with obfuscation, humor and irony to offer their members plausible deniability and increase their appeal to “normal” or “mainstream” people. . Beneath layers of disguise, the group embraces violence against its perceived political enemies, the government said.
Governments have increasingly identified white nationalist groups as threats in recent years. In 2020, the Trump administration designated the Russian Imperial Movement, a Russia-based ultranationalist group, a terrorist organization, the first time the United States had applied the label to a white supremacist group.
The United States has not classified the Proud Boys or the Base as terrorist organizations. But more than 40 members of the Proud Boys have been indicted in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, including several of their leaders, who face charges of seditious conspiracy.
A New York Times investigation showed that members of the group moved in a coordinated manner, angered other protesters and directly joined in the violence, playing an aggressive role in several of the Capitol violations. Prosecutors have said that the Proud Boys began planning the assault on December 19, 2020; Lawyers for the Proud Boys have denied that they conspired to attack the Capitol.