Donald Trump at a rally

Pro-Trump ‘America First’ rallies to move online

Image credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

67 Pro-Trump rallies across 36 states scheduled for 9 September have been cancelled and moved online amid apparent concerns around violence.

The nationwide “America First” rallies were organised by “ACT For America” (stylised as ACT! For America), an anti-Islam, pro-Trump nationalist group dedicated to fighting what it describes as the “threat of radical Islam” in the US.

The Center for American Progress, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have labelled it as an Islamophobic hate group, possibly the largest in the US.

In a statement released to far-right news outlet Breitbart, ACT For America claimed that violence has disturbed peaceful right-wing protests in America and Europe, and the cancellation of their America First rallies is necessary to avoid further violence.

 “In recent weeks, extremist and radical organisations in the United States and abroad have overrun peaceful events in order to advance their own agendas and in many cases, violence has been the result,” the statement said.

“ACT For America is deeply saddened that in today’s divisive climate, citizens cannot peacefully express their opinion without risk of physical harm from terror groups domestic and international.”

The statement appears to attack counter-protesters at far-right, white supremacist rallies for inciting violence, despite the recent killing of a civil rights activist, Heather Heyer, during a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. President Trump’s refusal to condemn the far-right protesters and his subsequent comments that there were “fine people” among them led to mass resignations from his American Manufacturing Council.

The America First protests will “be conducted through online and other media” in a “Day of ACTion”, the group has confirmed. Further details are expected to be announced soon, and it is not known whether any major websites will partake in the protest.

The online protest has been named similarly to July’s “Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality”, which involved Amazon, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Tumblr and other major websites banding together to protest the Federal Communications Commission’s new chairman’s plans to reverse Obama-era US policy establishing net neutrality.

A recent right-wing rally of approximately 100 held in Boston, Massachusetts, this weekend was overshadowed by a much larger anti-fascist counter protest involving around 40,000.

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