US far-right activists get four years in jail for attacking leftists

New York (AFP) - Two members of a US far-right group were each sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday for brawling with anti-fascist demonstrators in New York, prosecutors said.

The sentencing comes as tensions between white supremacists and leftists simmer in the United States.

Maxwell Hare and John Kinsman, members of the Proud Boys group, were found guilty in August by a state court of several counts of attempted assault and rioting.

The jury ruled that the pair assaulted four members of Antifa, an anti-fascist group, who were protesting outside an event that Hare and Kinsman had attended on October 12 last year.

Prosecutors had sought jail terms of five years.

A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney's told AFP that the pair had been sentenced to four years in prison.

Proud Boys is an all-male group considered neo-Nazis by Antifa members.

Antifa stands for anti-fascist and refers to a loose international coalition of activists and protesters who oppose far-right ideology.

There have been scattered incidents of violence purportedly involving Antifa members.

The groups have held rallies and counter-demonstrations this year, including in Portland, Oregon, in August.

There, right-wing activists including the Proud Boys brandished American flags and sported red caps with President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan from his 2016 election campaign.

The leftist counter-demonstration included Antifa members dressed all in black, many wearing masks.

In August 2017, fighting broke out between white supremacists attending a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Antifa members.

American neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr was convicted of ramming his car into the counter-protesters, killing one woman.