'They came to riot': Police arrest 31 members of a hate group near an LGBTQ pride event

On Saturday, Idaho police arrested 31 men with ties to a white nationalist hate group. They were found in the back of a U-Haul van near an LGBTQ Pride event in Coeur d'Alene.

“They came to riot downtown,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said at a press conference.

The men are members of the Patriot Front, a hate group that was started after the deadly "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

At 1:38 p.m., a worried person called the police to say that a large group of men had jumped into the back of a U-Haul. The person who called the police said that they looked like "a little army" and that some of them had shields.

Ten minutes later, police found the truck and pulled it over not far from the Coeur d'Alene Pride in the Park event put on by the North Idaho Pride Alliance. Around the truck, the police arrested all 31 men. White said that they were charged with a minor crime called conspiring to start a riot.

Police officers, some in riot gear, guard a group of men, who police say are among 31 arrested for conspiracy to riot and are affiliated with the group Patriot Front.
North Country Off Grid/Youtube/via REUTERS

They all were wearing a matching uniform of khaki or brown pants, navy shirts, khaki baseball caps and white balaclavas over their faces, photo and video from the scene show.

Photos show the group kneeling on the grass with their hands zip-tied behind their backs. They wore arm patches and logos on their hats that identified them as members of Patriot Front. “Conquerors on Thieves” was written on the back of one shirt. A patch that read “victory or death” was on the back of each hat.

They had shields, shin guards “and other riot gear with them, including at least one smoke grenade,” White said.

“Conquerors on Thieves” was written on the back of one of the hate group member’s shirts.
North Country Off Grid/Youtube/via REUTERS
Police say each member was charged with conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor.
via REUTERS

One by one, the police led the men to the front of their patrol cars, where they took off their masks and put them in a police van.

He said that people from Texas, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Arkansas, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, and Virginia were among the people who were in the group. About 35 miles east of Spokane, Wash., is Coeur d'Alene.

KREM said that the men are being put in the Kootenai County Jail. They will probably go to court on Monday.

In the last few days, police heard that some groups were planning to mess up the Pride event. Because of this, there were more police in the city on Saturday. White thanked the person who told the police about the crime.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Patriot Front as a white nationalist group that broke off from a similar organization, Vanguard America, in the aftermath of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
via REUTERS
Police received a call from a concerned citizen around 1:38 p.m. saying a large group of men had hopped into the back of a U-Haul.
North Country Off Grid/Youtube/via REUTERS

“I don’t think this would have been as successful had we not one extremely astute citizen who saw something that was very concerning to them and reported it,” he said.

“It is clear to us based on the gear the individuals had with them … along with paperwork that was seized by them that they came to riot downtown.”

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Patriot Front is an “image-obsessed organization” that “focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country.”

Their manifesto calls for the establishment of a white ethnostate in the United States.

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