Attorney General William Barr on Thursday reiterated that the far-left extremist group Antifa is involved in violent unrest amid protests over the death of George Floyd.
Barr said in a press conference that while he views most demonstrators have been peaceful, the Department of Justice uncovered proof that “extremist agitators” have involved themselves in protest to “pursue their own separate and violent agenda.”
“We have evidence that Antifa and other similar extremist groups, as well as actors of a variety of different political persuasions, have been involved in instigating and participating in the violent activity,” he explained.
In addition to Barr, FBI Director Christopher Wray weighed in on Antifa, stating that some groups have “set out to sow discord and upheaval, rather than join in the righteous pursuit of equality and justice.”
“We’ve directed our 200 joint terrorism task forces around the country to assist law enforcement with apprehending and charging violent agitators who are hijacking peaceful protests on a national level,” Wray added.
Barr’s comments come after he declared Sunday that violent unrest “instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”
“With the rioting that is occurring in many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful and legitimate protests have been hijacked by violent radical elements. Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent, and extremist agenda,” Barr said in a statement. “It is time to stop watching the violence and to confront and stop it. The continued violence and destruction of property endangers the lives and livelihoods of others, and interferes with the rights of peaceful protestors, as well as all other citizens.”
Barr’s statement came as President Donald Trump announced that the United States will designate Antifa as a terrorist organization.
On Tuesday, a leading Texas law enforcement official said evidence shows Antifa was involved in the looting of an Austin store over the weekend.
“The protest and looting of Target in Austin that was done and organized by an Antifa web page and of course, the surveillance that was provided over the internet identifying where law enforcement resources were staged, was done over Antifa accounts,” Col. Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told reporters.