Are they violent?
Antifa protesters often use a tactic called “black bloc,” a style of protesting popularized by anti-government demonstrators in Europe. They typically wear all black clothing and hide their faces, in an effort to avoid being identified by police, to avoid being pepper sprayed and also cast an intimidating presence.
In both the U.S. and Europe, the “black bloc” tactics generally include rioting, vandalism and protesting without a permit.
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But in the aftermath of Trump’s election, Antifa protesters have often violently clashed with the president’s supporters and white nationalists groups at demonstrations across the country. In April, pro-Trump protests in Berkeley, California, descended into an all out brawl.
Similar clashes shut down a speech by right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Davis, and an Ann Coulter lecture again at Berkeley.
Fisher says it’s possible that the Antifa movement could attract radical the kind of protesters that are prone to violent outburts, but she believes their presence has a deeper message about the current state of political discourse in the U.S.
“This is a response to aggressive alt-right messaging,” she said. “These guys and women are basically deciding that there’s a violent alt-right that’s threatening people and that they be the militia that will support and defend the left.”