An effort to have Antifa listed as a domestic terrorist group is gaining considerable steam, with close to 200,000 people adding their signatures to a petition calling on the White House to name the anarchist group as terrorists.
The anarchist group has been in the spotlight since clashes during a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week at a rally held by white supremacists in protest of the removal of Confederate statues. There were scattered skirmishes throughout the day as tensions boiled over.
While many blamed the divisive message of white supremacist groups for the violence, others have taken aim at Antifa for its role. The group has grown largely across Europe in the past few decades and derives its name from “anti-fascist,” though CNN noted that many ascribe its ideology to the “hard left.”
This is not fully true, the report noted, as Antifa is “an ideology that runs afield of the Democratic Party platform and supports oppressed populations as it protests the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites.” Antifa is a largely leaderless movement, denouncing capitalism and sometimes adopting destructive and violent tactics — but only against those who employ violence or condone racism, group members noted.
That violence has come under scrutiny in the wake of Charlottesville, leading to a White House petition to label Antifa as a terrorist organization. In just four days, the petition soared past the 100,000 benchmark needed for an official response from the White House, reaching close to 200,000 on Monday afternoon.
The petition posited that Antifa has “influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States.”
“It is time for the pentagon to be consistent in its actions – and just as they rightfully declared ISIS a terror group, they must declare AntiFa a terror group – on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality, and safety,” the petition noted.
It is not clear exactly what police killings the petition refers to, and Antifa members have not been directly linked to any killings of law enforcement officers in the United States.
The petition calling on the White House to declare Antifa a terrorist group gained coverage by a number of right-leaning media outlets, and many conservative media personalities promoted it on Twitter as well. The signatures continued to accumulate even after the petition reached the 100,000 mark, increasing at a rate of several thousand every hour.
It is not clear when the White House will respond to the petition asking that Antifa be named a terrorist group.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]