A Facebook prank in North Carolina has proved that Trump supporters are terrified of the anti-fascist group Antifa.
On Saturday several dozen right-wing, pro-Trump protesters gathered at a North Carolina Outdoors store due to a rumored violent Antifa event that was going to take place there. They brought their Confederate flags and pro-Trump regalia, and presumably their guns and rifles. They shouting and vowing to fight to defend the peaceful shopping center from an Antifa attack.
Fake ‘Antifa’ rally sends protestors to North Carolina camping store https://t.co/gv1tBzBWdB
— FayettevilleObserver (@fayobserver) October 22, 2018
But, as things turned out, there was no Antifa attack. It appears that with all their passion they fell victim to a simple Facebook prank. The rumored Antifa demonstration did not happen. It appears to have been nothing more than a joke that was started by an unknown person or group on Facebook.
A local newspaper, the Gaston Gazette, reported that there was actually a Facebook page for “Gaston County Antifa” and they actually did broadcast a large-scale Antifa rally at the shopping center. They posted on Facebook next to a picture of what appear to be right-wing protesters:
“PSA for all the Gaston County Antifa out there:
This is what we will be up against Saturday October 20th at Gander Mountain.”
“This is the fascist circle jerk of trash talkers who voted Trump and are threatening to crash our Gastonia rally. From the gym to the gun range, we are training and preparing.”
According to the Gazette:
“They had posted earlier in the week that group members from at least 10 states were planning to gather in front of the Gander Outdoors store in the Franklin Square shopping center in Gastonia. Other than the Facebook page, there’s no evidence of any such group actually existing in Gaston County, but that didn’t stop those spreading the rumors. Even local website CharlotteStories ran a widely shared article about the fake rally.”
After these posting, rumors of an Antifa rally spread throughout all week throughout the area. Yet on Saturday only a few dozen counter-protestors and a few police officers showed up. Nobody from Antifa was even there.
Those who came told the Gazette they had heard the rumors about Antifa members planning to burn the giant American flag at the shopping mall.
“We don’t care if it’s a prank,” a Trump follower told the Gazette. “We’re going to show up because what’s going to happen is they’re going to call this and then we ain’t going to show up and then they’re going to really burn down an American flag and it’s going to cause someone to seriously have problems.”
Cleveland County Sheriff’s Major Joel Shores said that the Facebook page is not linked to a real-life group in Gaston. Nevertheless, one of the Trump supporters who attended the rally make a vow: “We’re going to guard the mall until we know Antifa ain’t coming,” he said.
The residents of Gaston will no doubt sleep easier at night knowing that they are being protected by such fine, upstanding citizens.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.