A new White House petition this week is calling on the Trump administration to formally recognize the Antifa movement as a terrorist organization.
“AntiFa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States,” the petition, started Thursday, states.
Antifa is short for anti-fascists, and the people involved are generally extreme leftists known for their face-offs with right-wing activists, including recently in Berkeley, Calif. Antifa counter-protesters made an appearance in Charlottesville, Va. this past weekend and clashed with white supremacy and neo-Nazi groups protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.
Though he didn’t use the term “Antifa,” President Trump, who has been under fire for not taking a dedicated hardline stance against the white supremacy gathering, did express concern over the violent actions of the “alt-left” in Charlottesville.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right? Do they have any assemblage of guilt?” Trump told reporters at Trump Tower on Tuesday. “What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. That was a horrible, horrible day.”
Trump added that there was “blame on both sides.”
“Terrorism is defined as ‘the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims,'” an individual with the account name M.A. says in the petition.
“It is time for the pentagon to be consistent in its actions – and just as they rightfully declared ISIS a terror group, they must declare AntiFa a terror group – on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality, and safety,” M.A. says.
The petition only had 1,259 signatures as of press time. There is a 100,000 benchmark within 30 days after which the White House is compelled to reply.
Similar petitions have taken aim at other advocacy groups since Trump took over the White House in January, but none had really taken off, including one demanding that Black Lives Matter be dubbed a terrorist group.