Facts about Proud Boys - Who is Enrique Tarrio the leader?

A member of the Proud Boys, right, stands in front of a counter-protester as right-wing demonstrators rally on Saturday in Portland, Oregon. Photograph: John Locher/AP

Who are Proud Boys?

The far-right group describes itself as a men’s organization for “Western chauvinists” and has often fought with left-wing activists. At pro-Trump rallies in Washington, D.C., after the election, Mr. Tarrio led his group in chants of “F— antifa!”, referring to the loose network of far-left activists who have at times engaged in violence against those they view as fascist or racist, according to Wall Street Journal.

The group, which admits men only, was classified in 2018 by the FBI as an “extremist group”, while the US research and advocacy organization Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists it as a hate group. The Anti-Defamation League describes the group as misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration, the Guardian reported.

It is based in America, mostly the western US, but has a presence in some other countries, notably Canada, the UK and Australia.

And while it has an outsize reputation based on the high-profile agitation events and street brawls its members are most infamous for, and now a reference in a presidential debate, the Proud Boys is believed to be a very small group comprising maybe just a few hundred members in the US.

It is one of a sheaf of far-right groups with ready access to legal firearms in the US and with overtly pro-Trump or libertarian stances and an affinity for presenting as vigilantes or paramilitaries, especially during far-right gatherings or when showing up to disrupt liberal-leaning protests.

The Proud Boys’ history of violence

Amid nationwide anti-racism protests triggered by the custodial killing of African American George Floyd earlier this year, the Proud Boys have become a regular feature at protest marches across the country, according to Indian Express.

They have been known to intimidate anti-racism protesters and in some places have incited violence and fighting.

For instance, members of the group clashed with demonstrators in Kalamazoo, Michigan in August. The tensions between the two groups eventually escalated to a point where law enforcement authorities were forced to step in.

Even before the recent spate of protests across the United States, the group has been known to show up wherever they may be able to confront far-left activists. Last year, two Proud Boys were jailed for assaulting anti-fascist activists in New York.

The Proud Boys have also been associated with other far-right gatherings and protest marches that have turned violent, such as the infamous ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, North Carolina in 2017. A former member of the group, named Jason Kessler, helped bring together members of groups like the Ku Klux Clan and other neo-nazi and militia groups for the event.

The protest resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old civil rights activist, after a car rammed into a group of counter-protesters.

Facts about Proud Boys - Who is Enrique Tarrio the leader?
Proud Boys leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio was accused of burning a banner torn from a Black church in Washington.(AP: Allison Dinner, File)

Who is Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio?

Tarrio, 36, lives in Miami-Dade County.

He was raised in a Cuban family in Little Havana in Miami.

He told Heavy newsite that he was "lured" to the Proud Boys because it was a similar atmosphere to the home where he grew up.

He said: "My house, at like 7 o’clock in the morning, there’s like 20 people, in my house, talking about politics, roasting each other, just making fun of each other."

When did he become the leader of the Proud Boys?

Tarrio, 36, took over the leadership from Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes on November 21, 2018.

Previously he identified himself as a leader of the South Florida chapter, one of six chapters in the state.

But while he leads the group each chapter has a degree of autonomy.

Tarrio has since been arrested for allegedly burning a Black Lives Matter banner.

Proud Boys member and far-right protester Alan Swinney was arrested on assault charges in 2020.

The 50-year-old allegedly attacked a Black Lives Matter protester with a paint gun on August 15 in Oregon.

Tarrio's arrest and release

Tarrio, was arrested Monday night after he arrived in Washington and, facing charges for burning a Black Lives Matter banner that was torn down from a D.C. historic Black church last month, has been banned from the capital, according to Associated Press.

He had previously announced that the group’s members would “be incognito” and “spread across downtown DC in smaller teams” on Wednesday, adding they might not wear their distinctive yellow and black clothing in order to blend with counter-protestors.

Tarrio has been released recently but banned from entering the District of Columbia, with very limited exceptions to meet with his attorney or appear in court by a judge.

At pro-Trump rallies in the capital in recent months, Mr. Tarrio led his group in chants of “F —antifa!” referring to the far-left movement, at the start of the day’s events, The Australian said.

President Donald Trump said the far-right organisation should “stand back and stand by.” (The New York Times: Mason Trinca)
President Donald Trump said the far-right organisation should “stand back and stand by.” (The New York Times: Mason Trinca)

Mr. Tarrio’s group gained notoriety in recent months after President Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” in the first presidential debate.

Proud Boys “turns out in record numbers” at pro-Trump protest in D.C.

USA cited statements of the group of on the social media app Parler and far-right message boards, members of the group "Proud Boys" have discussed organizing in Washington D.C. and a leader of the group, Enrique Tarrio, suggested they will be incognito.

"The Proud Boys will turn out in record numbers on Jan 6th but this time with a twist," Tarrio said on Parler.

"We will not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow. We will be incognito and we will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams," he wrote.

Tarrio also posited that the group may dress in all-black gear at night, a style similar to the black bloc clothing tactic used by Antifa groups who often combat the Proud Boys.

Here is how DC is planning to manage pro-Trump protests this week

Who are Proud Boys – far-right group joining pro-Trump protest classified “extremist ” by FBI

BACKGROUNDNews of a planned rally started in December and was given a platform after President Trump tweeted, "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!", Fox5dc reported.

Jan. 6 was chosen as the day for the protests because it is the day that Congress will meet to certify the presidential election results as the legislative body is obligated to do under the 12th Amendment to the Constitution.

Around this time, supporters of the president in Congress began announcing they would challenge President-elect Joe Biden's victory when the House and Senate met to count electoral votes.

Sen. Josh Hawley was one of the first to announce this intention, saying in a statement, "I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws."

More GOP senators and senators-elect followed in Hawley's footsteps, vowing to object to the Jan. 6 certification of the presidential election results.

President Trump once again emphasized his belief that the election results are false at an outdoor rally in Georgia Monday night saying Electoral voters are "not gonna take this White House" and that he will "fight like hell" to hold on to the presidency.


D.C. police and businesses alike have been gearing up for the anticipated protests for days. MPD announced earlier this week that guns will be prohibited downtown ahead of the Wednesday rallies.

Stay home -- that is the main message from D.C. officials to our region as the District prepares to receive thousands of pro-Trump protesters on and before the day Congress will vote to certify the election. District leaders are taking a hands on deck approach.

In a statement Sunday, Mayor Muriel Bowser said all Metropolitan Police Department officers would be required to work on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bowser also confirmed at a press conference on Monday that the National Guard will be assisting with crowd management at the protests beginning Tuesday.

Police and businesses in the District are preparing for pro-Trump protests that are expected to take place on Jan. 6.

The Washington Post reports four protests are permitted for Wednesday, planned for Freedom Plaza, near the Capitol and the Washington Monument.

On conservative social media website Parler the leader of the far-right Proud Boys said his group would be represented Wednesday in record numbers and would be attending "incognito" and not in their typical black and yellow uniforms.

Black Lives Matter DC has told people not to counter-protest.

Mayor Bowser sent a similar message urging DC residents and people from across the area to stay home and especially avoid downtown DC where protest activity is taking place.


D.C. police have announced multiple parking restrictions and potential street closures from Jan. 5 to Jan. 7.

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