Amidst nationwide outcry over the paramilitary violence that has been deployed against largely peaceful protesters in Portland, Oregon, demonstrators turned out to the streets in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday night for a show of solidarity. At least some components of the demonstrations turned violent, with rioting in some areas of the city that ended up suffering some structural damage. Now, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney says that white supremacists were among the crowds on Saturday night and were apparently instigating violence. This statement flies in the face of the consistent assertion from President Donald Trump and his political allies that violence that has unfolded has almost if not entirely been the work of dubiously defined left-wing individuals.
Stoney said that white supremacists were “marching under the banner of Black Lives Matter,” adding:
‘We’ve spoken on many occasions about those who’ve chosen a more violent route to express their discontent, and what that does for the overall movement towards social justice. Last night that reared its ugly head right here in the City of Richmond… We saw some violent actions, violent protests, spearheaded by white supremacists. And frankly, it was disgusting. Disgusting. As they held plywood shields that read, BLM, these folks toured areas of damage downtown, The Fan, breaking windows, tagging private property with hateful language.’
Stoney said that he wanted “to send a thanks to the BLM protesters on the ground who decried the white supremacists once they were identified,” adding:
‘I’m thankful to you for drawing the line and sticking up not just for the sanctity of your movement, but also the safety of your fellow Richmonders that you marched alongside as well.’
Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith insisted at a Sunday press conference that local authorities “have identified some individuals who have been seen with the Boogaloo boys and some Antifa groups around the area,” although not many other details were immediately forthcoming, although he did indicate that investigations were ongoing and would be continuing.
The Boogaloo boys are a far-right group that wants to provoke a new civil war, and they seem to be ready and willing to co-opt any violence that they can for their aims of fomenting instability in the United States. “Antifa” is not a traditionally centralized, national organization; it’s used to designate groups of left-wing demonstrators who have been frequent targets of Trump and his political allies. To say that they have vastly overstated the threatening nature of “Antifa” would be an understatement — it’s not the boogeyman that Trump and his allies claim.
Trump has tweeted:
‘It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!’
Well, Richmond’s mayor has done exactly that with his revelation of the presence of white supremacists.
It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2020
At another point, Trump tweeted:
‘Interesting how ANTIFA and other Far Left militant groups can take over a city without barely a wimpier from soft Do Nothing Democrat leadership, yet these same weak leaders become RADICAL when it comes to shutting down a state or city and its hard working, tax paying citizens!’
Antifa has never taken over a city. Period. Any suggestion otherwise is delusional.
Interesting how ANTIFA and other Far Left militant groups can take over a city without barely a wimpier from soft Do Nothing Democrat leadership, yet these same weak leaders become RADICAL when it comes to shutting down a state or city and its hard working, tax paying citizens!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2020