Backlash is building against the far-right Patriot Prayer movement in its hometown of Vancouver, Wash.
A group of activists from southwest Washington is hosting a rally against far-right groups, including the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, on Aug. 11 at the Vancouver Mall.
The group, called Southwest Washington Communities United for Change, chose the mall because Patriot Prayer organizer and Proud Boy Tusitala "Tiny" Toese allegedly attacked a black teenage boy there. The boy was detained by a security guard and arrested by police. The charges were dropped once security footage revealed that Toese and his Proud Boy companions had been the aggressors.
Alt-right activists have pestered Portland for more than a year, hosting more than a dozen rallies in downtown to oppose the city's progressive reputation. Now, they face hostility in their hometown.
In announcing their rally, the Washington activists praised a Vancouver Fred Meyer for refusing to allow Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer supporters to leave their vehicles in a private parking lot on Aug. 4 while the far-right agitators rallied in Portland.
"We are concerned that white nationalism and far-right extremism pose a serious threat to our community," says Lexi Peterson-Burge, who is helping organize the rally at the Vancouver Mall. "We can no longer sit back while Proud Boys, white nationalists, and other hate groups spread their inflammatory and racist message unchallenged and assault our children with no consequences."
The rally organizers hope other Vancouver businesses will follow the example of the Fred Meyer employees.
"We're calling on the Vancouver Mall management to release a public apology to our community," says organizer Ophelia Noble. "This was a missed opportunity to send a clear anti-hate message."
Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson has been encountering pushback on his home turf in Vancouver, Wash., in recent months. In late July, Gibson was kicked out of a local bar after a bartender said he acted aggressively and yelled at her. Gibson accused the bar of discriminating against him for his political views and religion, and he sent his social media followers to the business's Yelp page to leave negative reviews.
Gibson also resoundingly lost his bid for U.S. Congress in the Tuesday primary.