COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho—Over the past couple of decades, Pride events in northern Idaho have come and gone with little controversy as communities have come to embrace them. But this year, right-wing extremists, swept up in spiraling hate speech identifying the LGBTQ community with pedophilia, decided to target the annual gathering in City Park—culminating in the mass arrests near the park’s entrance of 31 members of the explicitly fascist group Patriot Front, who police say were planning to riot in the park and then spread the violence downtown.
They weren’t the only visible extremists present, though. A number of men carrying AR-15s lurked around the fringes of the park and even came into the crowd; hate evangelists carried signs around the periphery, while Christian nationalists argued with the pastors of local churches that had booths at the event. Neo-Nazis unfurled hateful banners calling participants “groomers,” while evangelists held signs citing a Bible verse that calls for the death penalty for homosexuality. The arrests at the end were just the culmination of a menacing presence.
The several hundred people who attended, however, almost entirely ignored their presence and focused on the celebration. Organizers were delighted with the turnout and the energy—and pleased that none of the threats came to fruition.
Here are some of my best images from the day.