The federal NDP is calling for the Proud Boys to be designated as a terrorist organization.
In a tweet Thursday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announced a petition calling for the Proud Boys to be banned, citing their role in helping “execute” the mob attack by U.S. President Donald Trump’s supporters on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. the day before.
“Yesterday was an act of domestic terrorism,” read Singh’s tweet.
“The Proud Boys helped execute it. Their founder is Canadian. They operate in Canada, right now. And, I am calling for them to be designated as a terrorist organization, immediately.”
Singh’s call comes in the wake of chaos and violence that erupted in Washington D.C. Wednesday, which saw a mob of Trump supporters — emboldened by the president’s rhetoric — storm the nation’s Capitol building in an effort to disrupt the House’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
Several prominent right-wing extremist groups took part in Wednesday’s attack, with photos showing either members or logos of the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters militia group in the crowd.
Several prominent followers of QAnon conspiracy theories as well as individuals known for promoting white supremacism were also in attendance.
“Some groups who were partaking have touted their involvement online, likely to impress followers and raise their stature as action-oriented groups,” Mollie Saltskog, a senior intelligence analyst at the Soufan Group, told Global News.
“Most disturbingly, many prominent white supremacy channels that flaunt accelerationism have proclaimed that yesterday was only the beginning and discussed how much more successful they will be with taking over government buildings once organized and with clear leadership.”
A total of five people have since died from either medical emergencies or injuries sustained during the riot. One of them was a QAnon supporter who was fatally shot at the U.S. Capitol.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has since called for Trump’s removal from office through the 25th Amendment, citing the president’s actions and rhetoric as key in instigating the mob attack. According to Pelosi, her caucus would move forward to seek to impeach the president should Vice-President Mike Pence not invoke the amendment.
U.S. officials from both the Democratic and Republican parties have since condemned Trump, with several members of Trump’s administration — including two from his own cabinet — resigning from their posts.
Trump has also faced criticism for his refusal to publicly acknowledge America’s issue of systemic racism, as well as condemning white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys.
During the first presidential debate between him and now President-elect Joe Biden, Trump had controversially told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” when Fox News host and debate moderator Chris Wallace asked if he would condemn white supremacy.
The president also came under fire in 2017 after refusing to condemn the white supremacy protests in Charlottesville, adding that there were “fine people on both sides.”
The Proud Boys, which was founded in 2016 by Canadian Gavin McInnes, were also noted to be among many other right-wing groups acting against the Black Lives Matter protests last summer and sowing disinformation about the novel coronavirus pandemic. Most recently, authorities said the group attacked a historical Black church in Washington in December, leading to its leader, Enrique Tarrio, being banned from the capital by a judge.
— With files from The Associated Press and Global News’ Stewart Bell