On the 8th of February, between 100 and 150 members of Patriot Front marched under intense pressure from a few dozen anti-Fascist activists from the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capitol and finally the parking garage their vans were waiting in. Every step of the way MPD fought for them while severely outnumbered anti-fascists delayed, heckled, and obstructed their march.
The Nazis were sucessfully forced to go around the WWII Memorial when anti-fascists racing ahead of the cops set a determined blockade at the exit from one of the long fences running the length of the reflecting pool. Again and again, anti-fascists raced ahead of the cops and set up to interfere, while cops attempted to sieze and hold tactically useful positions first.
Patriot Front’s chants were mind-numbingly repetitive, though one of the chants opened itself to being directly answered. As Patriot Front was no doubt seeking to make a propaganda video, one of the priorities in disrupting them was to ruin their audio track and make it difficult to get clean sound. Their main chant was “Reclaim America”(presumably for white racists) to which “From Donald Trump” was easily added. Also loud chants of all types from anti-Fascists such as “Never Again” drowned them out even a short distance from their own march.
During the Feb 8 fascist/Nazi march, both cops and anti-fascists used bicycles to race ahead and jockey for position. The cops were far more numerous but anti-fascist bike handling was simply superior and more determined, often costing police the positions they wanted to occupy first, before protesters could get there. At fences and other obstacles both sides had to dismount and lift their bikes over the barriers, then resume jockeying for advantage on the other side. A ramming attack by one cop on a bicycle-riding antifa scout and journalist inflicted no damage, as it was likely that ramming that heavy steel bike hard enough to put it out of action would also disable the police bike.
At the US Capitol, Capitol Police permitted the fascists to enter a heavily protected “protest pen” for their photo op by the US Capitol. Apparently this was done without a protest permit being obtained as the act of filing for the permit would have given community considerably more advance notice the fascists were coming, leading to a larger and more powerful counterprotest. If 100+ fascists and all those cops could not get to the WWII Memorial and were repeatedly delayed by a few dozen highly determined anti-fascists, its likely that a few week’s warning and 1,000 anti-Fascist protesters could have prevented their march from taking place, just as the Nazi rally in Charlottesville was shut down well before James Field’s deadly terrorist attack.
Counterprotesters demanded badge numbers and to speak to the supervising officer at the scene, as the Capitol Police were operating in defiance of the laws and regulations pertaining to protests on the US Capitol grounds. They closed public access but granted access to the non-permitted fascists. Then one senior officer pointed to the walkway the fascists had used, said it was “open” but when anti-fascists got there they were unlawfully denied access. Before this could be resolved, the fascists ended their Capitol Hill presence and marched back out. At this point the chase to the vans began, and the day ended with rental vans with Texas plates full of Nazis and other fascists emerging from the parking garage of the H st Wal-Mart near North Capitol St a bit north and west of Union Station. License plates were photographed and warnings given that both Wal-Mart and the van rental firm in Texas would be called to account for doing business with Nazis.
All day, as anti-fascists pursued the Nazis, bystanders and tourists seemd to join the pursuit and the anti-fascist crowd began to grow. Some anti-fascist chants and educational speeches throughout the days’s event emphasized that Patriot Front includes many of the most violent offenders from Charlottesville, and in fact is essentially the same group that killed Heather Heyer. James Fields was photographed in Cville with American Vanguard, holding one of their shields. Later that day, he drove his grey Dodge Challenger into the crowd, killing Heather Heyer, sending 19 other people to the hospital, and injuring at least 35 people althogether. American Vanguard become ridden with internal disputes after that horrific crime, but Patriot Front broke away, rose from the ashes and has effectively continued the same agenda with some image changes. At Charlottesville, the public had recoiled from explictly Nazi slogans like “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us.” What started as “you will not replace us” aimed at all people of color had become intermixed with the explicitly Nazi and anti-Semitic “Jews will not replace us” chant. Patrolt Front’s breakaway founder Thomas Rousseau recognized that “Americana” style “patriotic” imagry gently blended with fascist imagery would attract a lot more support than reheating WWII leftovers like swastikas and gas chambers ever would.
Thus, Patriot Front’s flag is a varient on the US flag replacing the 50 starts with a circle of stars around a fasces. The fasces is an ancient Roman symbol of government power, consisting of a bundle of rods (used to flog) around an axe(used for executions) When in Rome the axe was removed as Roman citizens were supposedly exempt from the death penalty. The Italian Fascist movement and party under Benito Mussolini had grandiose dreams of resurrecting the Roman Empire, so they adoped the fasces as their symbol, and the name “fascism” as the name of their political philopsopy came from it’s use. American Vanguard used the symbol prior to Charlottesville, and their successor organization Patriot Front uses it today.
Patriot Front (formerly part of American Vanguard) stopped by blockade (behind the cops) just before the WWII Memorial. They had to bypass here
Many members of Patriot Front carried shields
Modified US flags with fasces show the explicitly fascist ideology of Patriot Front, and demonstrate how they sugarcoat it with pro-US, Trump-loving “patriotism
Clearer view of Patriot Front flags with fasces symbol in blue “union” portion
Parking garage at the H st Wal-Mart, vans to haul the fascists back to the campsite at Pocohontas State Park in Chesterfield, VA are hiding inside
Masks worn all day by fascists (to keep them from losing their jobs after being recognized) could not protect their license plates
Do business with Nazis, do business with antifa!