I think it’s getting hard to deny that antifa and BLM have, for all intents and purposes, become “unofficial” government paramilitary organizations that are used when the government wants to attack unfavored groups but lacks the legal authority to do so openly. How else to explain “room to destroy” from Baltimore, and this from a couple of days ago?
But a report on police conduct during and after the rally by ProPublica, a left-leaning investigative journalism non-profit, as well as eyewitness accounts by those who participated in the rally itself, have called the simplicity of this characterization into question. Both suggest mismanagement of police resources by political leadership may have exacerbated, rather than controlled, the violence surrounding the rally and the counter-protests, which included mainstream liberals and local faith-based “anti-racism” groups as well as radical leftist “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) and “Anti-Fascist Action” (Antifa) outfits.
According to ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson and his colleagues, “authorities took a largely laissez faire approach, allowing white supremacists and counter-protesters to physically battle.”
Similar accounts were given by two self-described Alt-Right activists in their mid-20s who came from the Midwest for the rally. Unlike the Finnish man above, the pair were with one of the first waves to get to Emancipation Park. They asked to be identified by the pseudonyms “George” and “Sean.”
“We’re seeing [projectiles] being thrown back and forth. The police seemed almost to misdirect people, sending them to the wrong side of the park so they would have to go through the crowd [of leftists],” George told Breitbart News, describing the progression into chaos.
The pair claimed that their pleas to police that Unite the Right participants, especially the featured speakers, were gravely endangered by running the “gauntlet” fell on deaf ears. “What was weird was that the police started forming a shield wall moving on to us, forcing us out onto this narrow staircase where we were right in front of Antifa,” George said of the scene as the rally was being dispersed.