What is Patriot Front? Everything We Know About the White Supremacist Group

After a 911 call and a tip from a witness, 31 men were arrested in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on Saturday. The men, all wearing similar clothing, are believed to be associated with the white supremacist group Patriot Front. The concerned citizen that tipped off law enforcement said they "looked like a little army".

The group is suspected of planning to riot at an Idaho Pride event being held in the city on Saturday. The men were seen getting into a U-Haul truck next to a hotel with riot gear, including masks and shields.

The Pride event in the Coeur d'Alene City Park was called Pride in the Park and featured performances by drag queens, musicians and dancers.

All 31 people were charged with the misdemeanor of conspiracy to riot, police said. The FBI is also helping with the investigation to determine exactly what their intentions were.

Who Are the Patriot Front?

Patriot Front is a white supremacist group formed by disaffected members of another white supremacist group, Vanguard America, in September 2017, following the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The Texas-based group's manifesto calls for a white ethnostate to be formed in the U.S, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which describes Patriot Front as a white nationalist group.

The group's manifesto states that: "The State was founded on liberal ideals, even from inception, but many acts of the people counteracted its original foundation and ensured a White American homeland for a time. However, due to the basis of the State's founding, these bulwarks against the eventual degeneration of the Republic were temporary and ultimately futile."

Patriot Front's manifesto explicitly excludes people of color from its conception of pan-European identity, according to SPLC, which quotes the manifesto as saying: "An African, for example, may have lived, worked, and even been classed as a citizen in America for centuries, yet he is not American."

The group was founded by Thomas Rousseau, who grew up in Dallas, Texas. Rousseau, who was born in 1998, according to the SPLC, was one of those arrested.

Rousseau wrote in the manifesto that: "A nation within a nation is our goal. Our people face complete annihilation as our culture and heritage are attacked from all sides."

Patriot Front
Members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front demonstrate near the National Archives in Washington, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022 AP

What Happened at Idaho Pride With Patriot Front?

According to law enforcement, the 31 arrested men travelled from 11 states, including South Dakota, Wyoming, Texas, Colorado, Utah and Illinois, to meet in Idaho.

The group was detained getting into a U-Haul, outside a hotel in the city of Coeur d'Alene, and were charged with conspiracy to riot.

Law enforcement officials said they had riot gear as well as a smoke grenade in the U-Haul. Lee White, the Coeur d'Alene police chief, stated that the group "came to riot downtown".

The North Idaho Pride Alliance, the community that arranged the Pride in the Park event, said on Sunday they were "taking a much-needed day of rest after successfully organizing a momentous, joyful, and SAFE Pride in the Park community celebration under the most challenging of circumstances. We are deeply grateful to law enforcement agencies who were present and professionally responded throughout the day to keep our community safe".