Photo essay: A good day for Pride, a bad day for menacing extremists in Coeur d’Alene

Photo essay: A good day for Pride, a bad day for menacing extremists in Coeur d’Alene

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho—Over the past couple of decades, Pride events in northern Idaho have come and gone with little controversy as communities have come to embrace them. But this year, right-wing extremists, swept up in spiraling hate speech identifying the LGBTQ community with pedophilia, decided to target the annual gathering in City Park—culminating in the mass arrests near the park’s entrance of 31 members of the explicitly fascist group Patriot Front, who police say were planning to riot in the park and then spread the violence downtown.

They weren’t the only visible extremists present, though. A number of men carrying AR-15s lurked around the fringes of the park and even came into the crowd; hate evangelists carried signs around the periphery, while Christian nationalists argued with the pastors of local churches that had booths at the event. Neo-Nazis unfurled hateful banners calling participants “groomers,” while evangelists held signs citing a Bible verse that calls for the death penalty for homosexuality. The arrests at the end were just the culmination of a menacing presence.

The several hundred people who attended, however, almost entirely ignored their presence and focused on the celebration. Organizers were delighted with the turnout and the energy—and pleased that none of the threats came to fruition.

Here are some of my best images from the day.

The crowd focused mostly on the day’s musical entertainers, including a number of transgender performers.

When it rained briefly, participants got out their umbrellas and their Pride banners and marched around the park.

A masked man with an AR-15 lurked around the park’s periphery for much of the day, then got closer later and began handing out fliers with fake “facts” about the LGBTQ community.

Another man with an AR-15 sometimes stalked through the crowd and then went on his way.

A third man (possibly still a teenager) lurked with an AR-15 near the entrance to the park.

A couple of ‘Patriot’ activists pulled up to the event with a fire truck bearing this banner.

Two men held signs citing a Bible verse suggesting that same-sex partnerships deserve the death penalty.

A group of men, including one with a neo-Nazi ‘Skull’ mask and two men with semi-automatics, held up a hate banner across a walkway from the festival.

The man with one of the AR-15s also toted a revolver and large knife.

The man also maintained a stony countenance.

The arrests of the Patriot Front would-be rioters a block from the park’s entrance occurred only an hour before the festival was scheduled to end.

All of the men, including Richard Jessop of Idaho Falls, Idaho, were unmasked in front of a small crowd of observers.

Kieran Morris of Haslet, Texas, was carrying the group’s bullhorn and appears to have had a leadership role in the planned riot.

Most of the detainees were deflated and upset about having their plans disrupted.

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