Members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front were seen marching through downtown Indianapolis in Indiana on Saturday.
Video captured a group of about 75 members, outfitted with matching uniforms, shields, and facemasks, holding American flags and a banner that read “Reclaim America”.
Patriot Front’s Telegram channel confirmed their presence in the city.
Local leaders said they were dismayed to see the presence of the group.
Patriot Front “has been responsible for the vast majority of white supremacist propaganda distributed in the United States” since 2019, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which tracks hate groups.
“People in Indiana and across the nation are absolutely aghast at this blatant demonstration of neo-fascist ideals without regard for civilized American society as we know it today,” Destiny Wells, a Democratic candidate for Indiana Secretary of State, told Newsweek on Sunday.
“History has taught us of the KKK’s similar tactics of marching down the Main Streets of Indiana—and the march’s hateful propaganda was met with disgust.”
Many militia-style groups have gone quiet given the increased law enforcement attention to their activities after the Jan 6 insurrection at the US Capitol in 2021.
Patriot Front has done the opposite. The "white nationalist hate group” is committed to “theatrical rhetoric and activism” to win new members and raise its profile, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In recent months, the group cropped up in a video allegedly showing members practicing combat tactics. In June, 31 members were arrested near a Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where officials said the group planned to cause trouble and were outfitted in armour and carrying a smoke grenade.
“No other white supremacist group operating in the US today is able to match Patriot Front’s ability to produce media, ability to mobilize across the country, and ability to finance,” Morgan Moon, a researcher with the ADL, told The Guardian. “That’s what makes them a particular concern.”
In July, the group marched through downtown Boston, prompting harsh condemnation from local officials.
“The disgusting, hateful actions and words of white supremacist groups are not welcome in this city. Especially in a moment when so many of our rights are under attack, we will not normalise intimidation by bigots,” Boston mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement at the time.
The group’s tactics have been compared to a pyramid scheme, with members required to pay Patriot Front leaders for propaganda materials and gear.
The group’s leader, Thomas Rousseau, led another radical outfit called Vanguard America at 2017’s infamous “Unite the Right” Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally, whose members splintered off to form Patriot Front.
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