Petitions Demanding KKK Be Classed as Terrorist Group Reach 500,000 Signatures

Calls for the government to list the Ku Klux Klan as a terrorist organization are continuing to grow as a number of online petitions attract more than half a million signatures.

For the past few days, several petitions demanding the white supremacist group be classified as terrorists have gone viral.

As of the morning of June 10, three petitions have gained at least 517,000 signatures between them, with a fourth petition demanding "Make the KKK Illegal" also attracting more than 233,000 signatures.

"The KKK has long been a group of thugs that have suppressed the voices of and invoked fear into Minority Communities across the country. It is time for that to end," a description on the Declare the KKK a Terrorist Organization petition, backed by 118,000 signatures, reads. "This organization does not belong in this country, if declared a terrorist organization any attack would be an act of terror and will be treated as such. If equality and protecting the American people is your true goal this will easily resonate with you."

A second petition, Change KKK Status into Terrorist Organization, has gained more than 300,000 signatures.

It said that the KKK could be considered the best example of a "modern terrorist group that was even allowed, by the government, to function and even do marches in the capital of the country."

The KKK is listed as a domestic extremist group as there are no definitions for domestic terrorism organizations. People with links to the KKK and other white nationalists groups can only face hate crime charges for carrying out an attack or other crime.

Groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are labeled terrorists because they are international organizations that threaten the security of the U.S.

The petitions have also been shared on social media by a number of celebrities and high-profile names.

Talk show host Claudia Jordan tweeted: "I just signed (and can't believe this isn't already illegal to be part of a HATE group that has LYNCHED thousands of people!!!!) And I hope you do too!"

"As a little girl I used to have nightmares about the Ku Klux Klan. It's hard to believe it's 2020 we have not done this yet," actress and singer Holly Robinson Peete added while sharing a link to one of the petitions.

How this has not been done already, I do not know. So here we go!!!!! Petition · Department of counterterrorism : Change KKK status into Terrorist Organization ·

— Brian Fallon (@thebrianfallon) June 10, 2020

U​.​S. Department of State: Designate the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) a terrorist organization. - Sign the Petition! via @Change

— Alaina Huffman (@AlainaHuffman) June 10, 2020

Living in 2020 means signing this petition to declare the KKK a terrorist organization

— Simran Jeet Singh (@SikhProf) June 8, 2020

Can't believe the Klu Klux Klan not labeled a terrorist organisation yet. Sign the petition to change this here: #blacklivesmatter #kkk

— Katja Herbers (@katjaherbers) June 9, 2020

The petitions started to gain traction after it emerged that a Virginia man who allegedly drove into a crowd of George Floyd protesters is a KKK leader.

They also went viral after President Donald Trump declared that the far-left movement antifa will be treated as a terrorist organization. Experts have questioned whether the decision will possible to implement.

In October 2018, a Brennan Center for Justice report titled "Wrong Priorities on Fighting Terrorism" declared that the U.S. government has a history of targeting far-left protest movements while minimizing far-right violence.

"The latter group has engaged in civil disobedience and vandalism but statistically has presented a much lower danger to human life, which is a key element of the federal definition of terrorism," the report noted.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the far-right and those with links to white supremacy were responsible for 90 percent of the 42 people killed by domestic extremists in 2019.

Look-outs atop a building and anti-Klan signs are visible during a Ku Klux Klan rally December 16, 2000 in Skokie, IL Tim Boyle/Newsmakers/Getty