A video circulating on social media that many claimed shows white supremacists being kicked out of Washington over the weekend is actually from July and happened in Philadelphia.
On Saturday, members of Patriot Front, classified as a white nationalist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, held a rally in Washington, marching down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. While posting video on the rally, people on social media mistakenly captioned a video from another Patriot Front rally that happened July 3 in Center City.
In the nearly one-minute video, a tense standoff between the group, wielding shields and donning matching khaki pants and balaclavas, and counterprotesters erupts into a brawl. More masked members of Patriot Front are then seen spilling out of the back of a Penske rental truck as some are seen throwing punches at each other. After several members piled back into the back of one truck, the truck drives away amid clouds of smoke.
The group is known for organizing flash-mob gatherings that it records and posts on social media to attract attention and new recruits, along with promoting their white nationalism rebranded as patriotism.
The video has taken off, with many people praising those seen in the video forcefully kicking the white supremacists out of the city.
“White supremacists being chased out of DC by teens with cellphones is exactly what I needed to see tonight,” a Twitter user who shared the video Sunday wrote.
On July 3, about 200 members of Patriot Front marched through Center City, armed with smoke bombs and touting banners emblazoned with “Reclaim America.” The group marched down Benjamin Franklin Parkway toward Penn’s Landing, where members had parked a few rented Penske trucks.
At the lot where the trucks were parked, the white supremacist group clashed with counterprotesters. At the time, Philadelphia police said there were no arrests or reports of vandalism from the demonstration.
The group traces its roots to the violent 2017 riots in Charlottesville, Va., and the July rally was part of a concerted effort to bolster the group’s ranks and recognition.
In June, the group defaced a mural memorializing George Floyd in Olney and later claimed responsibility for it on its private message boards, Shira Goodman, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Philadelphia chapter, previously said. The group had been pushing a propaganda campaign that included handing out leaflets, spraying graffiti, and pasting stickers throughout the Philadelphia suburbs and Lehigh Valley, she told The Inquirer.
On the company’s Twitter, Penske Truck Rental also clarified that the video depicted the July 3 incident in Philadelphia, not the Washington rally, and that none of the company’s vehicles were involved in Saturday’s rally.