Proud Boy getting ready to punch a woman a a protest

The Proud Boys in their bee-suits with mass-shooter guns slung over shoulders will be at the Ohio Statehouse on January 6, 2024 to commemorate the US Capitol insurrection, this according to the Ohio Right Watch of Cleveland, which is “keeping an eye on the far-right in Ohio”.

“We literally just wanted to have an event to memorialize Ashli Babbitt and show her family support and be able to simultaneously be much needed attention to J-6 political prisoners. That’s all this event is,” said Columbus resident Jay Deets in a rambling and conspiratorial video recently posted online in response to anti-fascists calling for a counter protest.

Who Deets is and what influence he has over local right-wingers is not fully known by the Free Press. But his MAGA vitriol for “antifers” is loud and clear. While his inside information that the Patriot Front and the neo-Nazi “Blood Tribe” will also show sounds legitimate.

The last time the Blood Tribe came to Columbus they protested a drag brunch fundraiser at the Land-Grant Brewing Co. in Franklinton. This national group, led by a former Marine, is believed to have established an Ohio chapter roughly two years ago. Ohio’s history of white supremacism has been extensively researched in “A History of HATE in Ohio: Then and Now” by Free Press managing editor Bob Fitrakis.

Deets makes the point that as soon as the call for far-right protesters to meet at the Statehouse on Jan. 6th went out, both fascist and anti-fascist groups across the state began stating they will also be there. A meme posted by anti-fascists shows a picture of Guy Fieri, who was born in Columbus, calling for a “Flavortown Smash” (pictured above). One problem with this is, say those deeply concerned, is that both sides now bring semi-automatic rifles to the protest, a mix which they believe is a disaster and tragedy in the making. Consider in 2021 at the Statehouse how Jan 6th protests resulted in brawls breaking out between Proud Boys and Black Lives Matter. The picture above shows a Proud Boy preparing to punch a woman.

But without a doubt, it was the far-right that first brought their ARs to protests. And many Columbus anti-fascists believe one good way to keep peace is “showing force against force” and that “guns are totally legal”.

“Nazis and white supremacist bigots in general are not welcome here and there will be a response to their presence,” said anti-fascist activist Verbz, “People are trained not to get overzealous. Guns are not toys or tools of bravado. They are for defense.”

Verbz likes to tell others, “I am the anti-fascist Donald Trump is scared of. Except that I run around helping people instead of whatever the hell he is talking about.”

During one past protest, Verbz had “to fight them in the street and cops just watched a man almost get beaten by six guys.”

“I don’t see why people carrying assault rifles should be treated like special guests or without a counter (protest),” he says, “when their rhetoric and actions are racist and violent.”

The Ohio Right Watch has stated those interested in counterprotesting should arrive at the Statehouse at 10:30 am.