Abiker group allegedly vowed to “go head-to-head… to the fight” with an Idaho Gay Pride celebration – and publicly unveiled their plan during an event hosted by Republican state representative Heather Scott. While that group’s plans did not appear to come to fruition, members of a separate group did make an active effort to disrupt the event.
But it has now emerged that details of a planned demonstration were reportedly revealed by another group, the Panhandle Patriots Riding Club, more than a month earlier, during a meeting in a church hall on April 28 hosted by Scott, the representative for Idaho’s 1st district. There is no suggestion that the Panhandle Patriots are linked to the Patriot Front, or that Scott was aware of the group’s plans beforehand.
During the event, which mostly focused on the speakers’ opposition to children’s books featuring stories with gay or transgender characters, Scott handed the floor over to two members of the Panhandle Patriots bikers who then discussed the organization’s plans to target the upcoming Pride event.
Footage circulated online showed one of the men, who was not identified during the clip, telling the crowd: “That very same day [as Pride], we intend to go head-to-head with these people. A line must be drawn in the sand. Good people need to stand up. And she [Scott] was talking about the repercussions. We say, ‘Damn the repercussions.'”
Salt Lake Magazine also quoted the man’s speech, claiming he continued speaking and went on to say: “Stand up, take it to the head. Go to the fight. Our event is called Gun d’Alene… We shifted our date to be available to go head-to-head with these people. They are trying to take your children.”
Scott’s event, called Gameplan to Remove Inappropriate Materials from our Schools and Libraries, was hosted in conjunction with Amy Henry, founder of the campaign group Parents for Freedom and Liberty. It was held at the Regeneration Chapel in Kootenai, Idaho on Thursday, April 28, and was advertised on the state legislature’s website. It was live-streamed at the time, but the talk by the Panhandle Patriots, whose logo features a skull and an assault rifle, appears to have been edited out when another version was uploaded to Facebook.
However, a social media user posted a clip of the pair on TikTok, under her handle @socialistlyawkward and details of the biker’s speech were later picked up by news reports.
There have been no reports that the men from the Panhandle Patriots who spoke at Scott’s event, or any members of the group have been accused of any wrongdoing in connection with last weekend’s Pride event in Coeur d’Alene.
Dozens of men were arrested in Coeur d’Alene on Saturday, many of whom wore white balaclavas and were identified as Patriot Front members. “They came to riot downtown,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said, adding that riot gear and a smoke grenade were found in a truck that had been carrying the men to the scene. The suspects come from 11 different states, with just one from Idaho.
The Panhandle Patriots’ website does not show any links to the Patriot Front organization and says: “We do not discriminate against race, color, creed, or religion, at the end of the day we are all Americans who need to stand together to help keep our country free… Your sexual preference is your business, leave kids alone, let them decide who they want to be.”
A lengthy statement about the June 11 protest was posted to its website before the event which said: “It is the media’s goal to instigate a conflict, take photos of that conflict, and then produce media stories labeling our group and anyone associated with us as violent, racist, and hateful while ignoring the antics of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and LGBT extremists.”
The group said it had consequently changed the name of its event from Gun D’Alene to North Idaho Day of Prayer, and added: “As always, the Panhandle Patriots are a Christian group that stands against violence in all its forms, and will not allow our event to be hijacked by extremists on either side of the political spectrum.”
But they concluded by urging locals to come together against “these LGBT groomers…[and] their sick agenda.” And flyers circulated by the group before the protest stated “full 2A [second amendment’s right to bear arms] encouraged… If they want a war, let it begin here.”
Good morning fellow patriots. Let’s all stand together, please help pass the word. Get behind this event, stand for your liberties and freedoms, protect your children and your community, and stand for America. For more information or questions: Contact Bear: 2086031300. pic.twitter.com/Tp8PTvU7zs— Panhandle Patriots RC (@PPRC1776) May 1, 2022
In an automatic reply to an email from Newsweek seeking comment, the North Idaho Pride Alliance said they were pleased with how the day unfolded.
“North Idaho Pride Alliance is taking a much-needed day of rest after successfully organizing a momentous, joyful, and SAFE Pride in the Park community celebration under the most challenging of circumstances.” the group’s reply said. “We are deeply grateful to law enforcement agencies who were present and professionally responded throughout the day to keep our community safe.
“We thank the many Pride in the Park vendors, volunteers, performers, partners, supporters, sponsors, and event attendees for their role in ensuring a safe event for ALL by joining us yesterday in the spirit of love, kindness, and inclusion.”
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