Extremists ready for ‘civil war’

Hawaiian shirts have become the unlikely uniform of a growing movement of armed anti-government extremists who are preparing for a second US civil war under the name “Boogaloo”.

Dozens of groups created on social media this year use “boogaloo” or derivations such as “big igloo” or “big luau” – a reference to a traditional Hawaiian celebration.

Adherents often wear brightly coloured shirts over military fatigues and have been worn at protests around the US by heavily armed men demanding an end to lockdowns.

Experts on extremism warn that “boogaloo boys” are reaching a wider audience of disaffected young men during the coronavirus pandemic as they are drawn by memes into the subculture of insurrection.

Some of those involved are white supremacists who believe the coming civil war will be a race war but most are simply anti-establishment rebels frustrated with tightening US gun laws and lockdowns.

“The Boogaloo is a loose-knit movement of anti-government extremists who are agitating to overthrow any government officials or entities who attempt to impose laws and rules they don’t like,” said JJ MacNab, a fellow with the extremism program at George Washington University.

“The movement is not new, the label and recruiting propaganda are.”

The name referred to Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, a 1980s movie sequel, known as Breakdance 2 in the UK.

Anti-police sentiment was fuelled by the fatal police shooting in March of 21-year-old Duncan Lemp, who ran a Facebook group called BoogalooUSA.

Mr Lemp was at home with his parents in Maryland when police burst in on a “no-knock” search warrant. The incident is under investigation.

“The group has a martyr, sufficient numbers and enough recent arrests that anti-police violence . . . is in the foreseeable future,” Ms MacNab said.


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