The government of New Zealand government has officially classified the far-right U.S. extremist group the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization.
In a 29-page document published Thursday, New Zealand authorities stated that the group’s role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021 is a the textbook definition of terrorism.
The country’s government considers a terroristic act as something “carried out for the purpose of advancing an ideological, political, or religious cause,” meant to “intimidate a population.”
The document stated:
“Actions and statements by [American Proud Boys] members both before and during the attack demonstrate an intention to cause the death or serious bodily injury to people...Despite the rhetorical and optical smokescreens put up by APB leadership, many members of the APBs lack McInnes’ rhetorical skill and are therefore more open about their adherence to white nationalism, extreme racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia.”
Proud Boys are not known to be active in New Zealand, but the country has become more sensitive to terrorist threats after a white supremacist killed 51 Muslim worshippers at two Christchurch mosques in 2019.
The massacre inspired other white supremacists—including the white gunman who killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York in May. Former Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and four other members of the group were charged with seditious conspiracy for a coordinated attack on the Capitol.
They are scheduled for trial in August in Washington, D.C. During a conference Thursday, New Zealand Police Minister Chris Hipkins said that the Proud Boys were known for “violent protests attempting to overthrow the government—clearly there is evidence of that.”
The U.S. State Department only considers foreign groups as terrorist threats. However, the Proud Boys were designated a terrorist group in Canada last year.