A family camping in the tiny town of Forks, Washington (yes, the town in the Twilight series) was trapped at their campsite by felled trees after being harassed and followed by people who thought they were members of antifa.
According to a statement from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, the multiracial family — including a couple, their 16-year-old daughter and the husband’s mother — had been shopping for camping supplies in town Wednesday when they were accosted by “seven or eight carloads of people” in the grocery store parking lot. The people repeatedly asked if they were members of antifa, an amorphous and militant “anti-facist” movement that has become a bugaboo for some on the right.
The family reportedly replied that they were just camping and swerved their vehicle around the cars to travel to the campsite. They said that a couple of the cars following them contained people armed with what seemed to be semi-automatic rifles.
When they arrived at their campsite on a logging spur road, they reportedly heard gunshots and power saws in the distance. Spooked, they dismantled their tent and prepared to leave. They found their way blocked by felled trees, an apparent attempt by the antifa-fearers to keep them boxed in.
Four students from the local Forks High School reportedly spotted the family, calling the sheriff’s office as they made their way over. The students cleared the way with their chainsaws, and the family was escorted to the sheriff’s office for interviews before they left town.
“The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office is actively conducting a criminal investigation into the incident and is seeking any and all information regarding those persons involved,” said the statement.
It’s unclear exactly how the antifa fervor started, but one man’s Facebook videos in the nearby city of Sequim offer some clues.
Seth Larson, the owner of the local “firearm and survival store” Fred’s Guns, posted heavily about a Black Lives Matter protest planned for Wednesday afternoon in town.
“For all of you uninformed for what may go down here in Sequim, you may want to show your face to make sure this is a peaceful demonstration and to declare ALL LIVES MATTER,” he wrote alongside the link to the protest.
The protest, the “Sequim Protest Against Racism & Police Brutality,” billed itself as a “family friendly” event.
Based on a series of mea culpa videos, it seems that Larson raised the call for locals to come out and protect the town from antifa infiltrators based on “intel” he had received.
“I was told protesters were here, I was told antifas here are gonna trash the town,” he said in one such video. “I had all this intel.”
“I see 300 to 400 people dressed in black,” he added. “Here it comes to my tiny town.”
He said that while about 10 percent of the protesters called him a racist, 90 percent of them were welcoming.
“I need people to bring it down a notch, including me,” he said. “I’m sorry, I got pretty jacked up about what’s going on in our country right now.”
Still, he called on locals to guard his store and home. In a video he posted Thursday, he showed a small knot of armed people standing guard outside his store.
The linking of antifa to the protests sweeping the country after the police killing of George Floyd started from the top.
President Donald Trump claimed on Twitter that he would designate antifa a terrorist organization, though it was very unclear what that was supposed to mean.
Attorney General William Barr followed up the tweet with a statement: “The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”
The FBI field office in Washington, however, reportedly had “no intelligence” linking antifa to any violence and destruction carried out in D.C.