SoCal anti-fascists charged months after clash with pro-Trump ‘Patriot March’ in San Diego

California
Counter-protesters clash with demonstrators (C) during a "Patriot March" demonstration in support of US President Donald Trump on January 9, 2021 in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Counter-protesters clash with demonstrators (C) during a “Patriot March” demonstration in support of US President Donald Trump on January 9, 2021 in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Prosecutors charged at least seven people, whom they described as self-identified anti-fascists, in connection with eight alleged assaults that occurred in January during a San Diego “Patriot March” organized by supporters of then-President Trump.

Those arraigned Monday in San Diego County Superior Court were among a group arrested Thursday in raids by police officers and sheriff’s deputies across Southern California. Prosecutors allege the defendants “are self-identified to be affiliated with Anti-fascists or Antifa,” according to a criminal complaint, and began organizing themselves — with one group originating in San Diego and the other in Los Angeles — a week before the pro-Trump rally in the Pacific Beach neighborhood.

The case is believed to be one of the first to use conspiracy charges — in this case conspiracy to commit riot — to target people with ties to “antifa,” a term often used to describe the anti-fascist movement.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies describes antifa as a “decentralized network of far-left militants who oppose what they believe are fascist, racist, or otherwise right-wing extremists” and whose adherents “frequently blend anarchist and communist views.” Anti-fascists typically don’t shy away from clashes, instead using what they call “direct action” to confront the systems, groups and individuals they view as their political enemies.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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