Members of the far-right Proud Boys men’s group repeatedly tried to confront an anti-Trump demonstration in Orlando on Tuesday, only to be blocked by police.
The incident, documented by videos posted to social media, happened near President Donald Trump’s campaign kickoff at Orlando’s Amway Center. That footage shows dozens of Proud Boys and their pro-Trump allies marching towards the anti-Trump rally on Tuesday afternoon, but before they could reach the anti-Trump group, they were blocked by a line of police officers who were using their bicycles as barriers.
In one video, posted by an Associated Press reporter, an associate of the Proud Boys wearing a Trump-themed motorcycle vest tries unsuccessfully to convince the police to let him through to the anti-Trump protest.
The Proud Boys, a self-described group of “Western chauvinists,” have repeatedly been involved in violence at political events. Several Proud Boys were arrested last year for an attack that followed a speech by Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes. The group once had a paramilitary wing, and offers its highest “fourth degree” honor to members who got in a fight for the cause—although McInnes eventually “clarified” that the award would only be given out for self-defense.
A spokesman for the Orlando Police Department said police had been in contact with the Proud Boys. The Proud Boys couldn’t be reached for comment.
Before they were stopped by police, the Proud Boys in Orlando chanted that former Trump advisor and Florida resident Roger Stone “did nothing wrong” and praised former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The late dictator is a favorite with the Proud Boys and other far-right groups because of his regime’s practice of murdering left-wing activists by throwing them out of helicopters.
Many of them also made the “OK” sign with their hands—a gesture that has been used by white supremacists, although some experts on extremism argue that it’s typically used by far-right groups to troll liberals and the media.
Later in the afternoon, a smaller group of Proud Boys tried for a second time to confront the anti-Trump protesters, but were again stopped by police.