A Denver rally organised to consolidate Bernie Sanders’ early gains in the race for the Democratic nomination was infiltrated by a group who appeared to support far-right neofascist organisation the Proud Boys.
Led by Louis Huey, a vocal supporter of the right-wing organisation in the state of Colorado, the group made their way into the crowd, which they described as “communists”, in live streamed footage of the event.
The group recorded themselves entering the rally while raising hand signals associated with white nationalism and wearing the red ‘Make America Great Again’ hats made famous by Donald Trump’s run for the presidency.
Mr Huey, who has previously interviewed Trump confidant Roger Stone for his podcast, could be seen arguing with audience members as the group settled near the stage where Mr Sanders addressed some 11,000 supporters.
Made up of at least three men wearing jackets emblazoned with the far-right group’s logo, they were eventually taken to one side before electing to leave the event, according to witness reports.
The Proud Boys were established in 2016 and classified as extremist by the FBI in a 2018 report which linked the organisation to white nationalism. Originated by Vice magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes, they are also listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
They are known for violent clashes with antifascist groups, with two members sentenced to four years in prison last October for their involvement in a “political street fight”
However, the organisation’s supporters claim the group is not racist and instead furthers an agenda which is “anti-political correctness” and “anti-white guilt” while endorsing “western values”.
The arrival of supporters of the far-right group was not the only dissenting opinion to arrive at the event, which follows a surge in the polls that has seen Mr Sanders edge forward to lead the race for the democratic nomination.
The avowed socialist used his time in the Colorado – one of the super Tuesday states that will announce their candidates on 3 March – to call for Medicare for all, a green new deal and a $15 federal minimum wage.
The stump speech comes ahead of the Nevada caucus on 22 Feburary, the next big test of the scale of the candidate’s support and the first state with a sizable latino minority to declare its nomination.