WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s government has declared that American far-right groups the Proud Boys and The Base are terrorist organizations.
These two groups are joined by 18 others, including Islamic State, that have been designated as terrorists. It is now illegal for New Zealanders to recruit, fund or support the groups and obligates authorities to pursue them.
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Although the U.S. is not believed to be present in New Zealand the South Pacific country has been more alert to dangers from the far right since a white supremacist killed and wounded 51 Muslims worshippers in two Christchurch mosques in 2019.
Other white supremacists inspired by the New Zealand massacre included a gunman of white color who shot 10 Black people in a Buffalo supermarket.
Only foreign terrorist groups are listed by the U.S. State Department. The Proud Boys in Canada were named terrorist groups last year, while The Base was previously declared terrorist in Canada, Australia, and Britain.
In a 29-page explanation of the Proud Boys designation published Thursday, New Zealand authorities said the group’s involvement in the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021 amounted to an act of terrorism.
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It was stated that although there were several militia groups involved in the attack, it was only the Proud Boys, who led other rioters towards the building and encouraged them to join the fight.
It was stated that there were two unconnected, but equally ideologically connected chapters of Proud Boys located in Canada or Australia.
New Zealand officials claimed that the Proud Boys used social media and street rallies to incite opponents and recruit young men by staging violent demonstrations. The group claimed that it had set up smokescreens to conceal its extremism.
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Earlier this month, the former leader of the Proud Boys, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, and four others linked to the group were charged in the U.S. with seditious conspiracy for what federal prosecutors say was a coordinated attack on the Capitol.
According to the indictment, the Proud Boys were accused of conspiring against the lawful transfer presidential power. The five are scheduled to stand trial in August in Washington, D.C.’s federal court.
Asked by media Thursday in New Zealand if the Proud Boys weren’t better known for protest actions rather than extreme violence, New Zealand Police Minister Chris Hipkins said: “Well, violent protests attempting to overthrow the government, clearly there is evidence of that.”
In making its case against The Base, New Zealand authorities said a key goal of the group was to “train a cadre of extremists capable of accelerationist violence.”
The statement said founder Rinaldo Nazzaro “has repetitively counselled members online about violence, the acquisition of weapons, and actions to accelerate the collapse of the U.S. government and survive the consequent period of chaos and violence.”
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