Police arrested 31 men who they said were planning to riot at a Pride event Saturday in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
Police Chief Lee White said at a press conference that the men wore clothing identifying them as part of the Patriot Front, a white nationalist group, and the group's founder was among those taken into custody. At the time they were arrested, they had one smoke grenade, shields, and hats hardened with plastic, and they were booked into jail on misdemeanor conspiracy to riot charges.
During the day on Saturday, the North Idaho Pride Alliance hosted an event at a park in Coeur d'Alene, featuring music and vendors. But then a "concerned citizen" spotted what "looked like a little army" inside a U-Haul truck and called police, White said. White said it was unknown from where the U-Haul had been rented.
The moment when the police found the truck, filled with masked men, was captured on video and posted by North Idaho News.
Patriot Front is a rebranded version of another far-right group, Vanguard America, which was prominently involved in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. One of the men who marched with the group went on to drive his car into counterprotesters, murdering Heather Heyer.
The 31 men arrested had traveled to the event from 11 states, the Associated Press reported, and jail records show that among them was Thomas Rousseau, the founder of Patriot Front.
The North Idaho Pride Alliance has not addressed the attempted riot but posted to its Instagram, thanking everyone for a successful event.
In addition to the alleged riot attempted by Patriot Front, the Pride event had inspired a counter-event by a local right-wing group. Panhandle Patriots Riding Club had accused the Pride event of "grooming" children and in response organized what it called the North Idaho Day of Prayer at the park. The group's event had originally been called Gun d'Alene, but it said it changed course after learning that people from other groups were planning to violently disrupt it.
Gun d'Alene will be rescheduled, the group said.