WELLINGTON, New Zealand ( Associated Press) – New Zealand’s government has declared US far – right groups the Proud Boys and The Base terrorist organizations.
The two groups join 18 others including Islamic State that have received an official terrorist designation, making it illegal in New Zealand to fund, recruit or participate in the groups, and oblige authorities to act against them.
It is not known whether American groups are active in New Zealand, although the South Pacific nation is more focused on threats from the far right after a white supremacy shot dead 51 Muslim worshipers at two Christchurch mosques in 2019. .
The New Zealand massacre has inspired other white supremacists around the world, including a white gunman who killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
In the US, the State Department lists only foreign groups as terrorist entities. But the Proud Boys were named a terrorist group in Canada last year, while The Base was previously declared a terrorist group in Britain, Canada and Australia.
In a 29-page explanation of the Proud Boys title published on Thursday, New Zealand authorities said the group’s involvement in the violent attack on the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021 amounted to an act of terrorism .
The statement said that while several militia groups were involved, it was the Proud Boys who incited crowds, coordinated attacks on law enforcement and led other rioters to where they could break into the building.
The statement said there were unconnected but ideologically affiliated chapters of the Proud Boys operating in Canada and Australia.
New Zealand authorities have argued that before the Capitol attack, the Proud Boys had a history of using street gatherings and social media to intimidate opponents and recruit young men through demonstrations of violence. The group is said to have set up several smoke screens to hide its extremism.
Earlier this month, former Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and four others affiliated with the group were charged in the U.S. with inciting conspiracy for what federal prosecutors say was a coordinated attack on the Capitol.
The indictment alleges that the Proud Boys conspired to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power. The five are scheduled to appear in Washington, DC’s federal court in August.
Asked by the media in New Zealand on Thursday whether the Proud Boys were no longer known for protests rather than extreme violence, New Zealand Police Minister Chris Hipkins said: “Well, violent protests trying to overthrow the government there is clear evidence of that. ”
In the case against The Base, New Zealand authorities said a key goal of the group was to “train a cadre of extremists capable of accelerating violence.”
The statement said founder Rinaldo Nazzaro “has repeatedly advised members online about violence, the acquisition of weapons and actions to accelerate the collapse of the US government and survive the ensuing period of chaos and violence.”