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Extremism Headlines: Christian nationalists at protests, Jan. 6 plea, far-right election plans

Every week, we highlight stories on extremism and the radical right from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. Here are stories that caught our attention through May 3.

Christian nationalists helm Pro-Israel Protest

  • A crowd of pro-Israel protesters gathered just outside the Columbia University campus, chanting through the gates at a group of pro-Palestinian students inside to “go to Gaza,” HuffPost reported on April 26. The pro-Israel demonstration was helmed by a group of far-right Christian nationalist figures, with Sean Feucht, the prominent far-right pastor and musician, as the main organizer of the “Unite for Israel” rally, the article explained. Groups have accused Feucht, who gained national prominence protesting COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, of associating with far-right groups. Feucht called the protests a "sign of the end times," the report noted.
  • Protesters formed an encampment on Columbia’s West Lawn on April 17 to protest Israel’s war against the besieged Gaza Strip. Israeli military actions have killed at least 33,000 Palestinians, according to figures HuffPost cited. The war began after Palestinian militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. The attack led to the deaths of roughly 1,200 Israelis and the capture of over 100 hostages, the article notes.
  • The rally took a turn for the worse when attendees began to hurl insults and derogatory remarks at the pro-Palestinian students. The Columbia protest has become a “lightning rod for accusations of antisemitism,” the article says. According to HuffPost, videos surfaced of protesters outside Columbia – who were not students – making antisemitic chants. 
  • Police stormed Columbia late Tuesday after negotiations broke down between the university's administration and the demonstrators.

National Guard Member Pleads Guilty to pepper spraying cops on Jan. 6

  • Gregory Yetman, an Army National Guardsman, has pleaded guilty in federal court to one felony charge of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers with physical contact during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, military-focused outlet Stars and Stripes reported on April 26.
  • Yetman admitted he used "an MK-46H pepper spray cannister on a group of police officers for 12 to 14 seconds, causing them to retreat," according to court documents that Stars and Stripes cited. Authorities apprehended Yetman on Nov. 10, according to the article, after an FBI manhunt.
  • Hatewatch has previously reported on extremism in the U.S. military and the Jan. 6 riot, that saw far-right and antigovernment groups and individuals attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election. 

Germans allegedly involved in far-right plot to stand trial

  • Nine individuals, identified as the “military wing” of a far-right group, have gone on trial in Stuttgart, Germany, accused of plotting to overthrow the state, The Guardian reported Monday. The group, led by a self-styled aristocrat, Heinrich XIII, Prince Reuss, allegedly planned a coup. Authorities claim to have thwarted the alleged coup in nationwide raids in 20221. The defendants face charges of high treason, attempted murder, and membership of a terrorist organization. The group had reportedly amassed a significant arsenal of weapons and ammunition, codenamed "bonbons," the report said. This trial is the first of three separate proceedings, making it the largest legal case of its kind in postwar Germany.
  • If convicted, the defendants face sentences ranging from one to ten years, with one individual potentially facing life imprisonment. 
  • Hatewatch has previously reported on U.S. extremists and their ties to foreign extremists

Far-Right Plan to Disrupt 2024 Election

  • A far-right group called United Sovereign Americans has unveiled a plan to use civil rights law to disrupt the 2024 election, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday. The group plans to file lawsuits in multiple states alleging voters’ civil rights are violated by errors on the voter rolls. The goal is to prevent states from certifying federal elections in 2024 until substantial changes are made to election processes, according to the report.
  • The group, led by Marly Hornik, is educating citizens on how to become skilled observers of poll workers. The group plans to file lawsuits in multiple states alleging voters’ civil rights are violated by errors on the voter rolls. The goal is to prevent states from certifying federal elections in 2024 until substantial changes are made to election processes. Election experts worry that if even one sympathetic judge rules in their favor, it could sow doubts about the integrity of U.S. elections. Hornik did not respond to the Times' request for comment, according to the article.
  • Hatewatch has previously reported on far-right and antigovernment groups attempts to sow doubt about elections. 

Read last week's edition here: Extremism Headlines: TPUSA employees admit guilt, Nazi flag, sovereign citizen murder conviction

Above Photo: Evangelical singer Sean Feucht at Columbia University during a pro-Israel demonstration. A few intense moments between Israeli supporters and pro Palestinians did occur, leading to the arrest of a few Israeli protesters. New York City, NY April 25, 2024. (Photo by Steve Sanchez/Sipa USA/Alamy)

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