A group of antifascists and community members assembled Dec. 5 across the street from a park next to a low-income housing project in an industrial area in north Buffalo, N.Y. They came to oppose a parade organized by the Rolling Patriots, a white supremacist group.
The anti-racist demonstrators held signs condemning the presence of extreme rightwing groups and demanding better provisions for workers facing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rolling Patriots often participate in anti-mask, anti-shutdown events, catering to the interests of business owners who want to remain open despite all-time-high COVID-19 infection rates in Erie County. They endanger the health and well-being of front-line workers and the general public.
The Patriots use anti-mask and anti-shutdown rhetoric to lure people in and recruit many for more violent white supremacist groups.
Their parade was attended by members of the Watchmen, a local hate group that also has connections with other far-right extremist groups like theProud Boys and the Aryan Renaissance Society.
As the Patriots’ caravan left the parking lot to start their parade, Watchmen and Proud Boys approached the anti-racist demonstrators, armed with heavy flashlights and stun guns. A short scuffle broke out, but no serious injuries occurred.
The anti-racist demonstrators held strong against the fascist threats and attacks, while Tonawanda police, Erie County Sheriffs and New York State Troopers looked on, making no arrests.
The message from the community was clear: the people of Western New York oppose racism and fascism — whether it manifests itself openly, or hides behind anti-mask propaganda.