California white supremacists arrested on riot charges

In this file photo taken on August 12, 2017 white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with counter-protesters as they enter Emancipation Park during the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (AFP / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / CHIP SOMODEVILLA)
Updated 25 October 2018

California white supremacists arrested on riot charges

  • Rise Above Movement leader Robert Rundo was arrested Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport after returning from abroad
  • Prosecutors have described the movement as a militant white supremacist group that espouses anti-Semitic and other racist views

LOS ANGELES: The leader of a Southern California white supremacist group and two other members were arrested on charges of inciting violence at California protests and at a deadly riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The arrests come weeks after other group members were indicted in Virginia on similar charges.
Rise Above Movement leader Robert Rundo was arrested Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport after returning to the US from Central America, US Attorney’s office spokesman Thom Mrozek said.
Two others, Robert Boman and Tyler Laube, were arrested Wednesday morning, and Aaron Eason remains at large, Mrozek said. All four are charged with traveling to incite or participate in riots. Rundo, Boman and Laube were each denied bail in Los Angeles federal court on Wednesday.
Attorney information for the defendants could not immediately be found.
The men allegedly took actions with the “intent to incite, organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on riots,” according to a complaint from the US Attorney’s office.
“RAM members violently attacked and assaulted counter-protesters” at events in Charlottesville and in the California cities of Huntington Beach, Berkeley and San Bernardino, an FBI affidavit accompanying the complaint said.
Prosecutors have described the Rise Above Movement as a militant white supremacist group that espouses anti-Semitic and other racist views and meets regularly to train in boxing and other fighting techniques.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Rise Above Movement members believe they are fighting against a “modern world” corrupted by the “destructive cultural influences” of liberals, Jews, Muslims and non-white immigrants. Members refer to themselves as the mixed martial arts club of the “alt-right” fringe movement, a loose mix of neo-Nazis, white nationalists and other far-right extremists.
“They very much operate like a street-fighting club,” Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said earlier this month. The group has roots in the racist skinhead movement in Southern California, Segal said.
The latest arrests come just weeks after the indictments of four other California members of RAM for allegedly inciting the Virginia riot.
In August 2017, they made their way to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville with their hands taped, “ready to do street battle,” US Attorney Thomas Cullen said at a news conference announcing the charges earlier this month.
Hundreds of white nationalists descended on Charlottesville in part to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Clashes erupted Aug. 11 as a crowd of white nationalists marching through the University of Virginia campus carrying torches and chanting racist slogans encountered a small group of counter-protesters.
The next day, more violence broke out between counter-protesters and attendees of the “Unite the Right” rally, which was believed to be the largest gathering of white nationalists in at least a decade. Street fighting exploded before the scheduled event could begin and went on for nearly an hour in view of police until authorities forced the crowd to disperse.
After authorities forced the rally to disband Aug. 12, Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters.
The death toll rose to three when a state police helicopter that had been monitoring the event crashed, killing two troopers.


Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

Updated 7 min 30 sec ago

Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

ISLAMABAD: Anti-government protesters in Pakistan blocked major roads and highways across the country on Thursday in a bid to force Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign.
The demonstrators — led by the leader of opposition party Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), the firebrand cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman — have taken to the streets as the start of their “Plan B” to topple the government and ensure a general election after failing to push Khan out through a fortnight-long sit-in in Islamabad, which ended on Wednesday.
That same day, Rehman told his party workers to spread their protests to other parts of the country.
“This protest will continue not for a day but for a month, if our leadership instructs,” said JUI-F Secretary-General, Maulana Nasir Mehmood, to a group of protesters who blocked the country’s main Karakoram Highway — an important trade route between Pakistan and China that also connects the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province with its northern areas.
The JUI-F protesters also blocked other key routes in KP and a major highway connecting the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. The party’s Balochistan chapter also announced its intention to block the highway connecting Pakistan to neighboring Iran.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined the sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks, demanding the prime minister’s resignation and fresh polls in the country following allegations of electoral fraud last year and the mismanagement of Pakistan’s economy. The government denies both charges.
Rehman is a veteran politician who was a member of the National Assembly for 20 years. He enjoys support in religious circles across the country. His party has yet to share a detailed plan regarding which roads will be closed when, or how long this new phase of protests will continue.
The JUI-F and other opposition parties have been trying to capitalize on the anger and frustration of the public against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ruling party, which came to power last year promising 10 million new jobs for the youth, 5 million low-cost houses, and economic reforms to benefit the middle class.
Since then, Pakistan’s economy has nosedived, witnessing double-digit inflation and rampant unemployment. The government signed a $6-billion bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund to stave off a balance-of-payments crisis.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has stabilized the deteriorating economy, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman ‘Plan B’ will fail like his ‘Plan A,’” Firdous Ashiq Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, said in a statement to the press.