US far-right groups the Proud Boys and The Base have been declared terrorist organizations in New Zealand, joining 18 other groups, including Islamic State, that have been given an official terrorist designation.
That makes funding, recruiting, or participating in those groups – although the US groups are not known to be active in New Zealand – illegal in the South Pacific nation and obligating authorities to take action against them.
New Zealand authorities pointed out in a 29-page explanation of the Proud Boys designation published Thursday, that its involvement in the violent attack on the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021, amounted to a terrorism act.
New Zealand Police Minister Chris Hipkins said that while the Proud Boys might be better known for protest actions rather than extreme violence, there’s clearly evidence of such violence in their violent protests attempting to overthrow the government.
With regards to the case against The Base, the explanation by the New Zealand authorities says that the group’s key goal was to train extremists capable of accelerationist violence.
According to them, it was the Proud Boys – out of several militia groups that were involved, who incited crowds, and led other rioters to where they could break into the building while coordinating attacks on law enforcement officers.
The group, according to the New Zealand authorities, had put up various smoke screens to hide its extremism over the years and has a history of intimidating opponents using street rallies – even before the Capitol attack- and social media and recruiting young men through demonstrations of violence.
The explanation also notes that although they are not linked, both in Canada and Australia there are ideologically affiliated chapters of the Proud Boys that are operating.
The Proud Boys were named a terrorist group in Canada last year, while The Base has previously been declared a terrorist group in Britain, Canada, and Australia. The State Department in the US, on the other hand, only lists foreign groups as terrorist entities.