Proud Boys: who are the far-right group that backs Donald Trump?

Organisation founded ahead of 2016 US election is classified by the FBI as an ‘extremist group’

By Martin Belam London,

Adam Gabbatt New York, 

Freshly brought to the world’s attention by Donald Trump’s refusal to condemn their associations with white supremacist ideology during Tuesday night’s US presidential debate, the US neo-fascist group the Proud Boys was created by the Canadian-British far-right activist and Vice magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes in 2016 in the lead-up to Trump’s election as president.

The group, which admits men only, was classified in 2018 by the FBI as an “extremist group”, while the US research and advocacy organization Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists it as a hate group. The Anti-Defamation League describes the group as misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration.

It is based in America, mostly the western US, but has a presence in some other countries, notably Canada, the UK and Australia.

And while it has an outsize reputation based on the high-profile agitation events and street brawls its members are most infamous for, and now a reference in a presidential debate, the Proud Boys is believed to be a very small group comprising maybe just a few hundred members in the US.

It is one of a sheaf of far-right groups with ready access to legal firearms in the US and with overtly pro-Trump or libertarian stances and an affinity for presenting as vigilantes or paramilitaries, especially during far-right gatherings or when showing up to disrupt liberal-leaning protests…

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