New Zealand Police Classified the Proud Boys as a Terrorist Organisation: NPR

Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio wears a hat that reads The War Boys at a rally in Portland, Oregon, Sept. 26, 2020. Tarrio, the former top leader of the Proud Boys, remains in prison awaiting his death trial on charges that he conspired with other members of the far-right extremist group to attack the United States Capitol.

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Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio wears a hat that reads The War Boys at a rally in Portland, Oregon, Sept. 26, 2020. Tarrio, the former top leader of the Proud Boys, remains in prison awaiting his death trial on charges that he conspired with other members of the far-right extremist group to attack the United States Capitol.

Allison Diner/AP

The New Zealand government has declared the far-right American extremist group Proud Boys a terrorist organization.

The Proud Boys’ role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, as well as their chauvinistic beliefs, hypernationalism and violent reporting contributed to the decision, New Zealand police said in a document published this week.

The New Zealand government defines terrorist acts as acts “performed for the purpose of furthering an ideological, political or religious cause”, intended to “intimidate a population” or “cause death or serious bodily harm to one or more persons”, among others.

New Zealand police also classify the Proud Boys as practicing crypto-fascism, in which they attempt to hide their true beliefs from “normal people” and authorities in order to appeal to a larger group of American men.

One example they gave was the organization that appoints Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, who identifies as Afro-Cuban, to chair the group.

“Having a non-white chairman is often used by the APB [American Proud Boys] as a defense against charges of white supremacy,” the police said.

The Proud Boys were also heavily involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, where they drew crowds, staged attacks on law enforcement and encouraged rioters to break into the building, the document said.

Tarrio and four other Proud Boys members were federally charged earlier this month with conspiracy to overthrow the government by attacking the Capitol.

Authorities in New Zealand have become more sensitive to threats from the far right after a white supremacist shot 51 Muslim worshipers in two mosques in Christchurch in 2019.

The New Zealand massacre inspired other white supremacists around the world, including a white gunman who killed 10 black people in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

New Zealand is not the first country to call the Proud Boys a terrorist organization. Last year, officials in Canada designated the Proud Boys as a terror group.