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.
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