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“Nazi go home! Nazi go home!” a woman led a crowd into chanting at me as I was cornered against a barrier. A line of police officers stood watching a few feet away. Aiming a bullhorn at my face, the woman continued screaming while others pushed me.

Why did I receive this welcome in downtown Seattle? Because I dared to take a camera into an Antifa protest.

Last Saturday, around 150 left-wing activists mobilized outside Seattle City Hall to counter a similarly-sized event organized by the Washington State Three Percent, a conservative group that describes itself as constitutionalist. The counter-protest brought together a coalition of socialists, communists, and anarchists.

They call themselves “Antifa,” or anti-fascist, in spite of their thuggish street behavior often directed at the innocent public. Some of them were dressed in black and wore masks, a tactic called “black bloc” designed to make it easier to remain anonymous while engaging in criminal activity.

The disinformation spread about me (e.g., that I am a “fascist”) was only a microcosm of the larger counter-protest. In fact, the entire demonstration was organized based on misinformation.

The Washington State Three Percent is a registered independent charity whose name pays homage to American colonists who fought for independence. The group unfortunately bears a similar name to the 3% Security Force, a radical anti-government militia that provided security for the Charlottesville, Virginia white nationalist rally last year.

Matt Marshall, leader of the Washington State Three Percent, said the group rebukes any similar-sounding organization that promotes anti-government and bigoted causes. “We are a completely non-discriminatory organization,” he said. “I would challenge anyone to find a statement or action that would prove any of those claims.”

Intentional or not, leftist activists in Seattle rallied people to their cause by claiming the Washington group is filled with white supremacists and anti-Semites.

“These accusations are actually really hurtful to our Jewish, black, and Latino members,” a female member of the conservative group told me.

This isn’t the first time that Antifa in the Pacific Northwest has targeted the wrong people. At a demonstration in Portland, Oregon in August, a leftist man carrying an American flag was bashed on the head with a metal bat by a group of masked individuals dressed in black who thought he was a conservative. He was left on the ground in a pool of his own blood.

Outside Seattle City Hall, dozens of police officers were deployed to keep the two groups separate. Much like in Portland, clashes between Antifa and right-wing groups have led to bloody street skirmishes in the city.

As soon as I walked near the street corner where Antifa had amassed with signs and megaphones, I was accosted by two individuals with guns. (Washington is an open carry state.) Holding semi-automatic rifles and wearing badges against racism and fascism, they told me I wasn’t welcome. I continued forward with an officer’s assistance. The protesters did not have a permit to close the sidewalk.

A group of tall men working informally as Antifa security then formed a physical barrier around me. “Nazi fascists out!” they shouted while pushing me.

Working as a freelance journalist covering Antifa activities primarily in Portland, this was my first time documenting a demonstration in Seattle. I was naive to think that I would be left alone in the unfamiliar environment. Lies travel fast.

“He writes for Breitbart,” one masked individual told the wider crowd, who was initially puzzled why a person of color was being treated this way. Another man followed up by saying that I write for neo-Nazi site, The Daily Stormer. They said I was there to record and dox people. These lies were enough to turn an agitated crowd into an angry mob, who then encircled me.

The irony of a mob of mostly white “anti-racists” harassing a gay Asian-American journalist was lost on them. “Racist, sexist, anti-gay; far-right bigot go away!” they repeated like a mantra.

I refused to leave or engage. They mocked my silence, calling me a fearful coward. A police officer finally approached me after an hour of abuse. I assumed he was going to help. I was wrong.

“At some point you are inciting conflict and we’re going to take some action to remove you from the area,” he said. “Do you understand that?” I told him I wasn’t leaving the public sidewalk.

Although I understand the strategy in removing a nonviolent person from a crowd of agitators, I refuse to normalize Antifa intimidation against media by capitulating to their harassment. For that, I received a veiled death threat.

“Are you willing to die for YouTube shit?” a protester asked me. “Death is coming to you, dude.” The man, Jamal Oscar Williams, is known to Seattle police. He was taken into custody at another protest earlier this year. I reported the threat to police but have not heard back.

Mr. Williams also commented on my Asian ancestry and accused me of “spying” for the enemy (i.e. white people). I faced similar racially-tinged harassment at another Antifa protest in Portland two weeks earlier, where I was accused of being “an Asian giving into white supremacy.”

Fearing for my safety and knowing that I wouldn’t be protected by Seattle police, I walked away. The mob cheered and laughed.

While no one defended me at the moment, one left-wing protester later reached out to me to express his disapproval of the way I was treated. Nacim, who asked that his surname not be printed, has since resigned from the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club, the pro-gun left-wing group that provided armed security for the counter-protest. “I do not agree with impeding journalists,” he said. “I support everyone’s right to document anything on a public street, no matter what their ideological stance or bias.”

After leaving the counter-protest, I walked to the Washington Three Percent rally to document the end of its event. I was greeted by the group’s volunteer security, who also held rifles and wore military fatigues, but they smiled at me instead of shoving me out.

When the rally attendees dispersed, Antifa protesters across the street used bullhorns to call them terrorists. “My grandfather killed Nazis like you and my son will do the same,” a masked woman shouted. A woman holding an American flag yelled back to them: “Jesus loves you.”

The protest last weekend demonstrates once again that when overzealous “anti-fascist” ideologues can’t find actual fascists, they will make them up. And the people they purport to protect—minorities and people of color—aren’t safe from their indiscriminate abuse and threats.

Mr. Ngo is an editor at Quillette. Follow him on Twitter @MrAndyNgo.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Richard R. Pope

    December 7, 2018 at 12:58 am

    The brownshirts of the communists aka leftists aka liberals aka nazis aka democrats at work. Why aren’t these fascists in prison?? FBI??
    America: Love it or Leave it!
    GOD Bless and GOD Please Help us,
    rich!

  2. MIchael Albach

    December 7, 2018 at 1:04 am

    I dont think anything will change untill these cowards that hide,behind masks are,confronted with live blank blank and then taken by blank blank on their last blank .

  3. Fit2Btyed

    December 7, 2018 at 1:34 am

    Where is Batman when you really need him?

  4. Norasein Murdoch

    December 7, 2018 at 2:13 am

    I’m so very sorry that this happened to you, I hope you are ok now.

  5. Richard Young

    December 7, 2018 at 2:19 am

    NO VIOLENCE! NO HATRED! NO FASCIST ANTIFA!
    NO VIOLENCE! NO HATRED! NO FASCIST ANTIFA!
    (Repeat)

  6. pjt

    December 7, 2018 at 2:37 am

    And as usual, the Anti-Fascist group demonstrates to everyone what Fascism really looks like.

  7. James Kelly

    December 7, 2018 at 3:12 am

    If you kill them they quite down; a lot.

    sarcasm off

  8. N

    December 7, 2018 at 3:20 am

    ‪Prosecute to the fullest extent of the law these treasonous NAZI Commie Demoncrat liberals! It’s about time they’re are held accountable! It’s a matter of life or death to keep the country from turning into another Commie shit hole!‬

  9. Rebecca Holstine

    December 7, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Who ever told the police to step down needs to be held accountable. This is a disgrace. A total disgrace. Groups like this and politicans that condone this kind of conduct need to be either locked up and or voted out of office.

    • Richard Young

      December 8, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      Portland’s Commie Mayor Ted Wheeler likely told the police to step down because he is on the side of Antifa. He needs to be recalled immediately!

  10. Pamela Laub

    December 7, 2018 at 9:25 am

    If they are proud of who they are and what they believe why do they conceal their faces. They are thugs and bullies – and we know bullies are cowards at heart. They act more like Fascists than any Conservatives ever have. They have more in common with skin-heads and far right extremists than they ever want to acknowledge.

  11. Meyndert

    December 7, 2018 at 11:41 am

    The fed government will have to publish a law that makes it illegal to attend or partake in any gathering, wearing a mask. If you protest your own conviction, why would you wear a mask. You should be proud to show what you stand for. You will wear a mask if you get paid and do not want to get caught because you are ashamed of what you are protesting about and getting paid for.

  12. Joe

    December 7, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    That cop should lose his job

  13. Joe

    December 7, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    If antifa is so right. Why are they covering their faces. Only cowards cover their faces. Nothing but Punks

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