Petition Urging Proud Boys Be Listed as Terrorist Organization Hits 400,000

A petition demanding the far-right Proud Boys group be listed as a terrorist organization in the wake of the attack on the Capitol last week has started to gain traction.

Although the change.org petition urging the far-right group to be declared a terrorist organization was created around three months ago, it has gained more than 200,000 signatures since their members were seen at Washington D.C. on January 6 in what the petition describes as an attempted coup.

The petition titled "Declare the 'Proud Boys' a Terrorist Organization" has now been signed by more than 404,000 people.

"Following the pathetic, yet deeply disturbing coup attempt at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 by alt-right extremists to include the Proud Boys, newly formed Proud Girls and QAnon, our mission to get these groups declared terrorist organizations is more timely than it ever has been," a description of the change.org page reads.

"What happened on Wednesday was sedition; there is no need to mince words. These racist, xenophobic, sexist, transphobic, homophobic groups will stop at nothing to undermine the democracy of this country as we finally make our way out of the murk of the last four years into a new future led by Joseph R. Biden and Kamala D. Harris."

The Proud Boys joined Donald Trump supporters, extremists and followers of the radical QAnon conspiracy theory to attack the Capitol last week in support of the president's baseless claims of election voter fraud.

The Proud Boys, who have frequently denied that they are white supremacists and instead call themselves an all-male "western chauvinist" society, are listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The group was launched in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, co-founder of Vice Media turned prominent far-right figurehead. For years they were notorious for their violent confrontations with antifa, especially on the streets of Portland, Oregon.

Their members were also present at deadly neo-Nazi "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. The group made worldwide news in September 2020 after Trump failed to decline them and instead told them to "stand back and stand by" during a televised presidential debate.

In November 2018, it was reported that the FBI categorized the Proud Boys as "an extremist group with ties to white nationalism," although this was denied by the agency a few weeks later.

As there is no definition for domestic terrorism organizations in the U.S., it would be difficult to list the Proud Boys a terrorist group.

Groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda are labeled terrorists because they are international organizations that threaten the security of the country.

People in the U.S. expressing far-right and white supremacists views can also be protected under the First Amendment, unlike those promoting international terrorist ideology.

As domestic terrorism is not a federal crime, those accused of far-right attacks are charged under hate crime laws.

Last year, a number of petitions urging the Ku Klux Klan to be officially designated as terrorists went viral, albeit to no avail.

The petitions received millions of signatures after a man who allegedly drove into a crowd of George Floyd protesters in Virginia was later revealed to be a KKK leader.

The Proud Boys have been contacted for comment.

proud boys
Protesters who claim to be a members of the Proud Boys gather with other supporters of US President Donald Trump protest outside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. A petition demanding the far-right Proud Boys group be listed as a terrorist organization has attracted more than 404,000 signatures. ALEX EDELMAN/AFP