Far-right Telegram group calls for vigilantes to target anti-racism activists

A photo of a smartphone with the Telegram app installed on it, the same app used by far-right groups to organise.

Members of far right and anti-lockdown groups on Telegram have called for action to be taken against Black Lives Matter protestors and anti-racist activists. In one case it’s demanded that a vigilante group is formed as to do otherwise “is inexcusable”

It comes after a knife attack on a teenager in Carrigaline, Co. Cork. In the aftermath there was a spike in far-right activity online as activists attempted assign a racial motive to the attack.

Targets

In a post made to the Irish Patriots Telegram group, the administrator argued that a vigilante group must be set up. They said that as a result of the incident in Carrigaline, “the men of the town” should arrange to meet and form a group to police the area. Various groups are to be targeted.

They wrote:

Identify the anti-Irish elements in the town that work for the media, NGO’s [sic], academic [sic] ect, [sic]. Start a shunning campaign against them. Unlike us these people have a constant need to be liked. They can redeem themselves by denouncing anti-Irish hatred. 

It’s also recommended that the same pattern should be repeated in towns around the country.

In a later post the administrator appears to chastise people into forming the groups. They declare that “it is inexcusable not to be taking action in the real world”. 

Going on, they argued that the Irish government was “encouraging the settlement of an alien people” in the country. And given this,

It’s your responsibility to take action

The tactics advocated in the Telegram group are similar to those proposed last year by an Irish far-right YouTuber. In a video uploaded to his channel, Gearóid Murphy called for action to be taken against people who advocate on behalf of asylum seekers. He told his audience that they need to “marginalise the collaborators”. 

Conspiracies

Similar patterns are repeated in other Telegram groups. In one group dedicated to protesting Ireland’s COVID-19 lockdown laws, the Carrigaline attack has been linked to the Black Lives Matter movement. And it’s been claimed that it’s an example of a “war” that George Soros is waging on Ireland. 

In the Stand Together group a user argues that the attack shows that Irish people are “becoming second class citizens!”. They also write that it is part of an agenda by the European Union and United Nations.

Another user opines that the attack is part of a plan to make people racist “like that antifa [sic] mob BLM”. And yet another commenter puts forward the idea Jewish philanthropist George Soros is somehow involved. The user asserts that “Soros wants war”. 

References to George Soros are a constant refrain in far-right and conspiracy circles. He is seen as a malign influence on world events by many members of both groups. This conspiracy is itself simply a rehash of old anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish people attempting to dominate the world from the shadows. 

Escalation

The rhetoric is clearly escalating in response to the fact that racism is being called out right across Ireland. It’s unsurprising. But that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. And the involvement of forces from the other side of the Atlantic makes the situation even more precarious.  

As reported by The Beacon, moderators for the Ireland Reddit page announced its temporary closure. They revealed that they were unable to deal with the level of extremist and racist content being posted after the Carrigaline attack. And the only solution was to close the page between the hours of midnight and 8am every day. 

They highlighted that the website’s administrators informed them that much of the posts were being made by sock puppet accounts originating in the US. 

On top of this, an anti-racism activist was attacked when confronting anti-lockdown protestors in Tramore, Co. Waterford. Gardaí are currently investigating the incident.

Fighting racism is obviously at the forefront of the minds of many Irish people right now. Consequently, extremists have come to see themselves as under threat. With this comes the danger of not only more attacks on anti-racism activists, but more violent and potentially deadly ones. It’s not a question of if it happens. It’s a question of when. 

Featured image via Pexels – Magnus Mueller


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