Ted Cruz to hold hearing on how violence by Antifa, other anarchist groups marring peaceful protests

'Hearing will highlight how Antifa and other anarchists are hijacking peaceful protests,' said the Texas GOP senator.

Updated: August 3, 2020 - 11:17am

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A GOP-led Senate panel on Tuesday will hold a hearing on how Antifa and other anarchist groups have infiltrated and disrupted peaceful protests in the U.S., amid recent demonstrations across the country calling for social justice and a stop to police brutality.

"Americans have a constitutional right to gather, protest, and otherwise have their voices heard, but they must do so peacefully," said Sen. Ted Cruz, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, which is holding the hearing. "Antifa is fundamentally against free speech and is using peaceful protests as a cover and an excuse to engage in violence and other criminal actions."

The Texas Republican specifically cites the recent situation in Portland, Ore., in which peaceful protests in the day have given way to destructive attacks on a federal courthouse by night. 

"We are seeing this most clearly in Portland right now, as criminals are trying to burn down the federal courthouse," he recently said in announcing the "Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence" hearing. "The hearing will highlight how Antifa and other anarchists are hijacking peaceful protests and engaging in political violence that is not only criminal, but antithetical to the First Amendment."

The recent protests follow the May 25 death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody and have resulted in widespread property damage and injuries to police officers and protesters in cities across the U.S.

The witness list for the hearing includes acting Deputy Department of Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli and conservative blogger Andy Ngo, who was attacked June 28 in Portland in a widely viewed video by what appeared to be members of Antifa, as first reported by the Daily Caller.