BUHL, Idaho (AP) — A far-right extremist group whose members took part in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol participated with a float in a July 3 parade in the south-central Idaho town of Buhl.
The Times-News reports that Proud Boys members were among about 100 floats in the Sagebrush Days parade that went through the center of town.
The Buhl Chamber of Commerce runs the parade but wouldn’t comment specifically about the Proud Boys taking part.
“At this time the Buhl Chamber (of) Commerce will not feed into any negative propaganda,” the group said in a statement to the newspaper. “The Buhl 2021 Sagebrush Days parade saw 90 plus entries who celebrated in a courteous and civil manner. The Buhl Chamber takes pride in welcoming all participants, while giving them the opportunity to celebrate our great nation.”
Chamber officials in a later email told the newspaper they were looking into the process for reviewing parade entries.
On Jan. 6, the Proud Boys met at the Washington Monument around 10 a.m. and marched to the Capitol before then-President Donald Trump finished addressing thousands of supporters near the White House.
The insurrectionists who descended on the Capitol briefly disrupted the certification of President Joe Biden’s win and sent terrified lawmakers running for their lives.
About two dozen members or associates of the neo-fascist Proud Boys have been charged in federal court with offenses related to the Jan. 6 riots.
Twin Falls County, where Buhl is located, overwhelmingly voted for Trump in the presidential election.
In Buhl, men accompanying the Proud Boys float wore black and yellow shirts while carrying an American flag and a black flag with the yellow letters “P.B.”
“I was surprised as anyone else to see that particular float go by,” said Buhl City Councilman Michael Higbee.
Idaho has a history of far-right groups. The neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations was based near Hayden Lake in northern Idaho starting in the 1970s. It eventually was bankrupted in a lawsuit brought by local activists and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Its compound was seized, and supporters dispersed.
Jen Schneider, the interim associate dean and professor in Boise State University’s School of Public Service, said the appearance of Proud Boys in an Idaho parade could be connected to the presidential election and the events at the U.S. Capitol in January.
“We have a long history of right-wing extremism in Idaho, and nobody would disagree they have been emboldened the last few years,” Schneider said.