From the Proud Boys to QAnon: Pictures show the growth of far-right extremism in 2020

  • The year 2020 has been defined by the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the US presidential election.
  • These massive news events also fuelled a growing far-right movement across the United States and the world.
  • From The Proud Boys to the Boogaloo movement, 20 photos show how far-right groups found the limelight this year.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The far-right movement came out of the shadows in the last year.

The year 2020, defined by a global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, brought white supremacists, right-wing extremists, and other groups promoting social unrest into the limelight.

From the Proud Boys to QAnon,  the armed militias, and the Boogaloo Bois, scroll down to find out more about how far-right extremism made its way back into the limelight in 2020.

The year 2020 has been defined by white supremacists' rapid growth, right-wing extremists, and other groups who promote hate, division, and social unrest.

These groups have been fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the 2020 presidential election.



The Proud Boys, a far-right political organization that calls itself a "fraternity" of "Western chauvinists", gained national media attention during the first presidential debate when President Trump told them to "stand back and stand by."

The group was founded in 2018 by Gavin McInnes, who is also the co-founder of Vice Media. 

While McInnes and other leaders of the group have denied that it is racist, some members  "espouse white supremacist and anti-Semitic ideologies" and are involved in white supremacist organizations, according to the ADL.

Classified by the FBI as an"extremist group with ties to white nationalism," the Proud Boys are known for holding rallies to protest left-wing groups and stoking violence.

Source: Fighting Antisemitism and Hate



Its profile gained national attention in the summer, at the height of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that erupted across the US following the death of George Floyd.

Source: Insider

The Proud Boys also made appearances at political rallies this year, including a November "Million MAGA March" demonstration against the election results.

The fraternity's international chairman, Enrique Tarrio, told Insider in September that some of its members were running for the 2020 election, but declined to identify them by name.

"We have our guys who are running for office, and we'll be busy door-knocking pretty much across the county," Tarrio told Insider at the time. "We're focused on the election and getting our favorite candidates elected, including our guys."

Source: Insider

The Proud Boys have also publicly supported 17-year-old shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, who was charged in the deaths of two Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August.

Source: Insider

Rittenhouse is a Trump supporter from Illinois who had previously expressed support on social media for the Blue Lives Matter movement and law enforcement.

Source: Insider

Other organizations that came to the forefront in 2020 include the Boogaloo Bois, a loosely organized far-right, anti-government group known for wearing trademark Hawaiian shirts and wielding rifles at various protests.

The Boogaloo Bois, who are supporters of the Second Amendment, have called for a second US civil war and an uprising against the federal government.

Source: Insider



The Boogaloo Bois have been linked to several crimes. Earlier this week, one member pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide weapons and resources to US-designated terrorist group Hamas.

"This case highlights the real threat posed by domestic violent extremists who self-radicalize and threaten to violently attack others opposed to their views, with little or no warning," said Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the FBI's Minneapolis field office, according to Insider.

Source: Insider

Paramilitary and far-right groups were also seen in Michigan earlier in the year when armed protesters from an anti-lockdown protest stormed the state's Capitol.

Some of the protesters comparing the state's Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, to Hitler.

President Trump later called them "very good people," adding that the governor should "make a deal with them."

Source: Business Insider

Some of the protesters were tied to a paramilitary militia group called the Wolverine Watchmen.

Several months later, members of the same group were arrested on charges of planning an alleged terrorism plot to kidnap the Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer.

Source: Business Insider

It has become increasingly difficult to differentiate the various groups from one another, as they often appear at the same rallies.

This has particularly been the case in Germany, which has seen Europe's biggest anti-lockdown movement in recent months.

Source: Business Insider

Far-right extremists are among the diverse group of anti-lockdown demonstrators who have been protesting regularly in the country.

Despite having differing backgrounds, many protesters have united to accuse German lawmakers of triggering unnecessary panic by imposing local and national lockdowns.

Source: Business Insider

QAnon has also found fertile ground in Germany, where more than 200,000 people follow the US conspiracy theory on social media accounts on all platforms.

Source: The New York Times

The same has been witnessed in other European countries, including the United Kingdom, where fascist symbols or QAnon references often make an appearance in anti-lockdown protests.

In the summer, hundreds of demonstrators, some of whom belonged to far-right groups, clashed with police during a protest in London. This picture,— of a BLM supporter carrying an injured counter-protester to safety — made national headlines.

Source: Insider

Experts worry right-wing extremism will continue to be a problem in the years to come. Top international security officials last year ranked it as one of the world's most serious security threats alongside space security, climate change, and emerging technologies.

Source: World Economic Forum

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