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Proud Boys supporters plan to fast during leadership’s upcoming Capitol riot trial

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Proud Boys supporters plan to fast during leadership’s upcoming Capitol riot trial

The Proud Boys are asking their supporters to skip meals to improve their leaders’ chances of prevailing during their trial for sedition that began today. Longtime leader Enrique Tarrio and top lieutenants Joe Biggs, Ethan Nordean, Dominic Pezzola, and Zachary Rehl are charged with seditious conspiracy and other crimes associated with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. They’ve pled not guilty.

Hunger strikes have been used as a form of protest for hundreds of years. Women seeking the right to vote, Iranians resisting deportation, and Chinese students petitioning for democratic reforms in Tiananmen Square are just some of the more famous hunger strikes from the last century.

The similar practice of fasting is often used for religious purposes. Practitioners of many faiths believe that depriving oneself of nourishment can bring them closer to their deity or purify their soul.

The Proud Boys seem to believe that fasting, even intermittently, will somehow improve their leaders’ chances of being acquitted.

“I am calling for prayer and fasting for these brothers during their 6 week estimated trial,” the Proud Boys channel posted to its 20,000 Telegram subscribers. “…If you have never fasted before, it is an act of denying your flesh, it will draw you closer spiritually to God as you send your petitions up to Him.”

Perhaps recognizing that fasting for six weeks can literally kill you, they added that it’s okay if supporters just substitute liquid nutrition or skip some meals.

“You can fast daily, several days, liquid only, or even just the act of skipping meals intermittently.”

Other branches of the Proud Boys shared the post in their channels.

A Telegram channel dedicated to people charged in the Capitol riot also urged Proud Boys’ supporters to fast during the trial.

“Prayer and fasting are necessary in this battle for truth to triumph over lies. Please fast and pray for God’s will to be done, for it is perfect!” the Prisoner’s Record wrote Monday morning.

David Clements, a former professor who rose to prominence on the far-right for protesting COVID-19 policies, shared that he plans to go hungry to help the Proud Boys.

“Beginning another fast in solidarity with Biden’s political prisoners,” Clements wrote on Monday.

Nearly everyone who commented on these posts said they’d pray but declined to reveal whether they’d also fast over the holidays as a means of potentially influencing the trial.

“The last time I fasted I got sick for three days. It wasn’t good for me. Maybe I’m just doing wrong…” wrote one.

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*First Published: Dec 19, 2022, 3:07 pm CST

Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot covering all things politics and technology with a focus on the far right and conspiracy theories.

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