Although it appeared that Antifa sprang into existence following President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a new report reveals that federal authorities have been warning of extremist violence on the part of far-left activists since early last year.
The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI categorized the actions of Antifa – the black-clad group of protesters that has turned out in droves to oppose nearly every right-wing demonstration within the last year – as “domestic terrorist violence” since early 2016, Politico reported.
Citing “previously unreported documents,” the outlet claims that the DHS has blamed “anarchist extremists” for fomenting violent uprising against law enforcement officers, political institutions, and the government at large. Grievances with “the capitalist system” and other perceived ills within American society were blamed with bringing about Antifa mayhem in cities across the country.
Antifa activists have not been content protesting against the government, the report says. Instead, they directed their chaotic actions toward Trump supporters, as well as perceived “white supremacist and nationalist groups suddenly turning out in droves to hail his victory.”
Politico places the blame on “Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and policies” for bringing about the Antifa violence that has left multiple victims hospitalized, which the outlet in turn blames on Trump supporters, citing a senior law enforcement official.
“It was in that period [as the Trump campaign emerged] that we really became aware of them,” the cop said. “These antifa guys were showing up with weapons, shields and bike helmets and just beating the shit out of people. … They’re using Molotov cocktails, they’re starting fires, they’re throwing bombs and smashing windows.”
In the wake of simmering far-left violence, U.S. intelligence officials have reportedly set their sights on Antifa members who have been photographed carrying makeshift weapons that have been deemed dangerous enough to place the wielders on terrorism watch lists.
These Antifa activists have even gone so far as to train overseas with like-minded organizations, Politico claims, noting that they could become even more dangerous if “fascist, nationalist, racist or anti-immigrant parties obtain greater prominence or local political power in the United States, leading to anti-racist violent backlash from anarchist extremists.”