A trio of White Lives Matter protests sprang up across the nation this weekend, raising new questions about how President-elect Donald Trump will handle racial tensions when the first-time politician assumes the highest-elected office in the United States of America in less than nine weeks.
White supremacists have felt especially empowered since Donald Trump won the election two weeks ago, according to a report by Al Jazeera. Much of that was fueled by politically-incorrect rhetoric and campaign speeches Donald Trump gave on illegal immigrants, researcher Peter Montgomery from the People for the American Way explained.
Another expert — Westfield State University professor and author George Michael — has studied the right-wing extremism that President-elect Donald Trump has incited. The difference under a Donald Trump presidency and one under the current administration is the White Lives Matter extremists feel they can speak freely without fear of persecution, Michael said.
“Over the last decades, they could get involved in chatrooms and writing in blogs — rarely in person. That changed, and I think it will embolden them in the future.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center has added the White Lives Matter groups to its list of hate groups, according to its website. The group is “a racist response to the civil rights movement Black Lives Matter,” according to Southern Poverty Law Center, adding the “neo-Nazi group… is growing into a movement as more and more white supremacist groups take up its slogans and tactics.” The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks more than 900 groups nationwide that it considers hate groups, one report suggests.
The most notable White Lives Matter protest over the weekend was held in Austin, Texas. The rally held at the Texas State Capitol was met by resistance from Black Lives Matter protesters, according to one report. That same article from a local TV station noted that the counter-protesters “largely outnumbered” the 10 original members of the white supremacist rally.
As tensions rose, Austin police and state troopers — some dressed in riot gear — kept the groups separated. CBS News reported that eight individuals were arrested during the protests, about half of which were arrested for assault. The White Lives Matter protest occurred as Texas governor Greg Abbott unveiled the Texas African American History monument.
The protesters were on hand to contest what the group called the unfair application of the laws, White Lives Matter member Scott Lacy explained.
“Really what we are here today for is to protest against unequal application of hate crime laws,” Lacy said. Members of the White Lives Matter group carried signs that read, “Hate crimes for one, hate crimes for all, equal justice under the law.”
Additionally, a White Lives Matter protest in Lewiston, Idaho, occurred, according to the local newspaper. The gathering — reportedly a group of eight men — held signs along a highway bridge on Saturday to protest racial injustice. Some of the protesters were spotted wearing emblems associated with the Klu Klux Klan, the article explained.
Another White Lives Matter protest was planned for the San Bernardino, California-area. Members of the Black Lives Matter movement were prepared and had planned to counter with their own demonstrations, according to the San Bernardino County Sun. The White Lives Matter protest — purportedly being held by white supremacists — never materialized, however.
While Black Lives Matter protesters have risen to the challenge, other questions surrounding how the country will resolve racial tensions are being directed at President-elect Donald Trump. When protesters immediately began to contest the election results, Donald Trump responded swiftly with tweets about how “unfair” the protests were, condemning what he called “professional protesters,” according to a CNBC report.
Yet President-elect Donald Trump has not responded to these current White Lives Matter protests, causing leaders of the counter-movement to raise questions about how the next administration will handle white supremacists groups. Black Live Matters Global Network issued a statement earlier this week, suggesting the “violence [Donald Trump] will inflict in office, and the permission he gives for others to commit violence, is just beginning to emerge.”
Do you think the White Lives Matter movement will continue to build momentum under President-elect Donald Trump, especially after this weekend’s activities? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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