House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for the prosecution of violent members of the left-wing activist group Antifa amid repeated calls for Democratic members of Congress to speak against them.
"Our democracy has no room for inciting violence or endangering the public, no matter the ideology of those who commit such acts," said Pelosi, as reported by SF Gate. "The violent actions of people calling themselves Antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted."
On Saturday, Antifa activists went to protest a rally called "No to Marxism in Berkeley," where the radicals attacked both conservatives and journalists with clubs and other weapons.
Short for "Anti-fascist," according to historian Mark Bray, Antifa is not a centralized organization but rather a collection of various left-wing groups and activists bent on stopping far right ideology.
"Its adherents are predominantly communists, socialists and anarchists who reject turning to the police or the state to halt the advance of white supremacy," noted Bray in a The Washington Post column.
Pelosi's denunciation of Antifa's actions comes as a petition demanding that the federal government label the group a terrorist organization.
Posted to the White House petition site "We the People" on Aug. 17, as of Thursday morning the petition has gotten over 327,000 signatures.
"Terrorism is defined as 'the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims.' This definition is the same definition used to declare ISIS and other groups, as terrorist organizations," stated the petition.
"Antifa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States. It is time for the pentagon to be consistent in its actions — and just as they rightfully declared ISIS a terror group, they must declare AntiFa a terror group — on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality, and safety."