Family camping in Washington harassed by locals, accused of being antifa members
A multiracial family in Washington state were harassed by locals and accused of being anti-fascist activists, or antifa members, on Wednesday, with residents cutting down trees to prevent them from leaving.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that the family of four from Spokane were driving a full-size school bus and prepared to camp off a logging road near the town of Forks.
The family — a husband and wife, their 16-year-old daughter and the husband’s mother — had stopped for camping supplies at Forks Outfitters when police say they were stopped “by seven or eight car loads of people in the grocery store parking lot.”
“The people in the parking lot repeatedly asked them if they were ‘ANTIFA’ protesters. The family told the people they weren’t associated with any such group and were just camping,” the statement posted to Facebook said. “The family had to drive their bus around vehicles in the parking lot in order to get back onto Highway 101.”
After driving away, the family says they were followed by four vehicles.
They told police that passengers in two of the cars appeared to be carrying what looked like semiautomatic rifles.
The bus pulled off onto a logging spur road and the family said they pitched a tent for the night. However, they began to pack up when they heard gunshots and power saws nearby.
Concerned for their safety, the family attempted to leave but discovered that someone had cut down trees across the road to block their path.
Four students at Forks High School contacted police as they made their way toward the family to help them, the statement noted. The teenagers used their own chainsaw to cut the felled trees and clear the roadway for the family.
The family’s bus broke down shortly after, and officers helped them get it running again so they could leave the area, the sheriff’s office said.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s office said it is actively conducting a criminal investigation into the incident and is seeking information regarding the persons involved.
Forks is a town of roughly 3,800 people located in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, roughly 3 1/2 hours from Seattle.
The confrontation came days after President Trump said he was preparing to formally label anti-fascist activists known as antifa as a terrorist organization.
Trump’s remarks followed sweeping nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who recently died during an arrest by police in Minneapolis.
Antifa activists, dubbed the “alt-left” by Trump and his proponents, have become increasingly visible since the president’s victory in 2016. Terrorism experts responded to his Sunday announcement by noting that the group is a decentralized movement and not a traditional organization with designated leadership. Some also noted various far-right domestic terrorist groups that have not received such designation from the administration.
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