As people across the nation have taken to the streets to protest after the death of George Floyd, white supremacists have been seen infiltrating demonstrations in hopes of sparking a civil war.
People in multiple U.S. cities are protesting police brutality and systemic racism after video showed a former Minneapolis officer with his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly 10 minutes, as Blavity previously reported. As reports emerged of protests turning violent and unlawful, it became evident that white people were behind the unrest.
On Friday, Vice reported that a group of white supremacists, identified as Boogaloo Bois, were showing up to protests around the nation with the sole agenda of carrying out their hostility toward law enforcement. Boogaloo is a code word used within far-right organizations to spark civil unrest.
The group, which often show up to demonstrations in Hawaiian shirts and with weapons, is known for its disdain toward police officers and for being anti-government extremists. Yet, they market themselves as allies of Black Lives Matters protesters.
The Boogaloo Bois' antipathy toward law enforcement stems from the 1992 Ruby Ridge shooting where a former Green Beret's family was gunned down by the FBI, ATF and Secret Service.
Other groups are promoting themselves as intermediaries between law enforcement and protesters.
“Cops are less likely to tread on people’s rights when there’s other armed Americans with them,” an armed white man told a local news organization in Minneapolis. "It's about damn time some heavily armed rednecks stood with fellow citizens."
These guys say they support the protests but not the looting. Showed up to help this tobacco store owner stop people from breaking in pic.twitter.com/x2FMQiQwVK
— Max Nesterak (@maxnesterak) May 28, 2020
Additionally, another far-right group, identified as accelerationists, has been reported as having a presence at protests. The group encourages its followers to attend the protests with the purpose of attacking Black people, "exacerbating the ethnic tensions" and starting a "race war," Vice reported.
Accelerationists encourage violence in efforts to speed up the collapse of society and use opportunities like protests to carry out their motives.
While demonstrations continue to be inundated with white supremacists, protesters continue to call out those with the mission of destroying communities and damaging property, BuzzFeed News reports.
Activists say they are concerned they will receive backlash from reports of looting and rioting despite efforts to lull the violence and unrest.
"When we aren't asking people to destroy things in our name and people do it anyway, we know that this is something that's going to blow back on us," a Black activist told BuzzFeed News.
Videos have surfaced online showing Black protesters pleading with white people not to damage or vandalize property.
Twitter user Tay Anderson told BuzzFeed News he believes some of the people defacing property were "right-wing conservative individuals who just don't give a damn about Black and brown people, or want to make this movement look bad."
"This how #FakeNews spreads. This is an example of white people doing things we asked them not to do," Anderson tweeted.
— Tay Anderson (@TayAndersonCO) May 30, 2020
"It wasn't Black and brown folks that were antagonizing police. It was white people throwing stuff at them," he said. "And then when they kept throwing bags of urine, cans and water bottles, that's when the police snapped and they started teargassing innocent bystanders."
I was at Downtown Oakland protests a little while ago. Let me say something; the people breaking glass, breaking into windows & starting fires were WHITE men wearing all black. They had hammers and walkie talkies. They were organized. BLM protestors did not start the violence! pic.twitter.com/I2HOdzFoHd
— Asia (@AsiaJannelll) May 30, 2020
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted on Saturday that the city is turning its efforts toward combating white supremacist organizations infiltrating the protests.
"We are now confronting white supremacists, members of organized crime, out of state instigators, and possibly even foreign actors to destroy and destabilize our city and our region," Frey said.
As Minneapolis works to combat the violence instigated by white supremacists, activists continue to pack the streets each night demanding justice for Floyd.