Proud Boys and The Base designated as terrorist organisations in New Zealand
The Proud Boys are also deemed a terrorist group in Canada
New Zealand's government has declared the Proud Boys a terrorist organisation, citing the far-right group's involvement in the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol building as an act of terrorism.
The Base was also given the same classification in a decision published Thursday, making it illegal in New Zealand to fund, recruit or participate in the groups, and obligating authorities to take action against them.
The two groups join 18 others, including Islamic State.
The Base and the Proud Boys are not thought to be active in New Zealand, although the country has faced far-right attacks in recent years. In 2019, white supremacist Brenton Tarrant killed 51 Muslim worshippers at two Christchurch mosques, in a massacre that inspired other fanatics around the world.
In the US, the State Department only lists foreign groups as terrorist entities, but Proud Boys were deemed a terrorist group in Canada last year. The Base has previously been declared a terrorist group in Britain, Canada and Australia.
In a 29-page explanation of the Proud Boys designation, New Zealand authorities made direct reference to the attack on Capitol Hill, saying that while several militia groups were involved, it was the Proud Boys who incited crowds, coordinated attacks on law enforcement officers and led other rioters to where they could break into the building.
The decision said there are unlinked but ideologically affiliated chapters of the Proud Boys in Canada and Australia.
Earlier this month, the former leader of the Proud Boys, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, and four others linked to the group were charged in the US with seditious conspiracy over the Capitol Hill attack.
New Zealand Police Minister Chris Hipkins was asked Thursday, according to a report by Time if the Proud Boys weren’t better known for protest actions rather than extreme violence, and responded: “Well, violent protests attempting to overthrow the government, clearly there is evidence of that.”
One of the key goals of The Base, New Zealand authorities said in its decision, was to “train a cadre of extremists capable of accelerationist violence”.
Read the full decision here.
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