Antifa has been plaguing the nation with hate-filled rhetoric and open violence since they rose to prominence in 2016.
According to Vice, many of the individuals who engaged in terrorism during the Presidential Inauguration to voice their opposition to the election may be finally held accountable. Around 194 people arrested for their violent acts during President Trump’s inauguration could be facing decades of prison time.
The streets during the inauguration were a scene of chaos. Antifa protesters swarmed entire blocks, smashing windows, setting fire to a limo, clashing with President Trump supporters and even harassing police.
As a result, the US Attorney for Washington DC has charged nearly all of the 194 arrested protesters with felony charges, citing incitement to riot and destruction of property. The first batch of trails supposedly started yesterday with six individuals facing charges.
Many on the Left claim this legal action is meant to stifle activism against President Trump. Yet the individuals targeted by police and the US Attorney were believed to have been the perpetrators of the chaos, not the peaceful protesters.
These violent individuals who used “Black Bloc” tactics to hide their identities were looking to do damage and initiate fights. Prosecutors said they intentionally concealed their identities to avoid being held accountable for the crimes they committed.
The spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department, Rachel Reid, clarified that only the violent thugs were being charged, not the peaceful protesters: “During the 58th Presidential Inauguration, there were thousands of individuals who exercised their constitutional right to peacefully assemble and speak out for their cause. Unfortunately, there was another group of individuals who chose to engage in criminal acts, destroying property and hurling projectiles, injuring at least six officers.”
Initially, 230 people had been arrested, but dozens were released when it was revealed they were either under 18 or were not participating in the violence. The remaining 194 were believed to be, due to evidence or witness accounts, the ones who committed the criminal acts.
In spite of this, the Left maintains that the US government under President Trump is still overreaching its bounds and trying to stamp out activism. Tim Zick, a law professor at the College of William & Mary, said: “The dangers for protesters and free speech and assembly are serious.”
He believes these blanket legal charges could dissuade people from participating in protests for fear of being falsely accused: “This could result in a significant chilling of protest activities, as individuals may be reasonably concerned that they could be falsely charged (i.e., through misidentification) or subject to prosecution for merely associating with ‘anarchist’ groups.”
Almost 200 Antifa members have been arrested for acts of violence committed on Inauguration Day. Is this what they deserve?
Obviously, there’s a concern that some may be wrongly accused of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Considering the inauguration was almost a year ago and legal proceedings are just now occurring shows that investigators have done their due diligence to determine guilt or innocence.
These violent Antifa protestors need to be held accountable for their aggressive behaviors and disregard for the safety of themselves and others. Peaceful protest is a constitutional right; setting a car on fire is not, regardless of the message.