A petition put up just days ago urging the Trump administration to label the left-wing Antifa a “terror group” has attracted well over the 100,000 signatures needed to merit a formal White House response.
The left-wing group has been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent days after President Trump controversially blamed “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, where a counter-protester at a white supremacist rally was killed in a car attack.
Trump’s criticism of violence on the “alt-left” was seen as a swipe at groups like Antifa, whose “anti-facist” members have been known to clash with groups ranging from Trump supporters to white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Trump was hammered for seeming to equate Charlottesville counter-protesters with neo-Nazis – but in the days since, Antifa’s tactics at other rallies have been the subject of numerous media reports.
The White House petition, posted by someone going only by the initials, “M.A.,” called for Antifa to be “formally” recognized as a terror group.
It states: “Terrorism is defined as ‘the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims’. This definition is the same definition used to declare ISIS and other groups, as terrorist organizations. AntiFa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States. It is time for the pentagon to be consistent in its actions – and just as they rightfully declared ISIS a terror group, they must declare AntiFa a terror group – on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality, and safety.”
It was posted on the White House petition site, whose rules say any petition getting over 100,000 signatures in 30 days will be reviewed and get an “official response. “
As of late Monday, it had over 160,000 signatures, after having been posted Aug. 17.
Antifa leaders contend their aggressive tactics are used only to fight hatred and racism.