by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Attorney General William Barr declared that the violence being “instigated and carried out” by “antifa and other similar groups” in connection to nationwide rioting is “domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”
“With the rioting that is occurring in many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful and legitimate protests have been hijacked by violent radical elements,” he said in a Sunday statement. “Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent, and extremist agenda.”
George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, died in police custody last week after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him down by placing a knee on the back of his neck for several minutes. Footage of the incident set off a wave of outrage, leading to protests in major cities across the nation, some of which became violent as some protesters rioted, looted stores, destroyed property, burned buildings, and clashed with police.
Chauvin is facing charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter, but Floyd’s family believes the charges should be upgraded to first-degree murder because there may have been “intent.”
Earlier on Sunday, President Trump tweeted that “the United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.” Antifa, which claims to be anti-fascist, is an often-violent activist group whose masked supporters protest law enforcement and work to promote left-wing policies. Antifa was declared a terrorist organization by the New Jersey Homeland Security office in 2017.
Barr said on Saturday, it appears that “many places” across the United States are seeing violent protests spurred by “anarchic” and “far-left extremist groups.” He said these agitators are using “antifa-like tactics” and that many of them are traveling from out of state to participate in the protests.