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Extremism in Florida is on the rise since Jan. 6 attack, civil rights organizations say

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
Jose Luis Magana
/
AP
Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.

It’s been two years since a pro-Trump crowd stormed the U.S. Capitol. Florida is home to more people arrested in connection with the attack than any other state.

This week on Florida Matters, we’re talking about right wing conservatism in Florida and extremist groups, two years after the Jan. 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol.

Host Matthew Peddie talks with Washington Post reporter Tim Craig about "The Hollow" in Sarasota County. It’s a gathering place for conservatives and has become the favorite hangout of people like President Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn.

Craig, who is a national reporter on the America Desk for the Post, visited the Hollow last summer. He describes the complex and the motivations of its founder, construction business owner Victor G. Mellor, in a piece titled "Waterslides and rifles: Inside Florida’s playground for the far right."

Peddie also asked Craig about Sunday’s attack on Brazil’s government buildings by supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro. Some are wondering if the Jan. 6 insurrection is inspiring others to try to subvert democracy.

Tim Craig on the recent attack in Brazil

Later in the show, Peddie also talks with Sarah Emmons, the Anti-Defamation League’s Florida regional director.

It’s been two years since a pro-Trump crowd stormed the Capitol and the country is still grappling with the fallout. Florida has the dubious distinction of being home to more people arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 riot than any other state.

The Anti-Defamation League says more than one third of those arrested have connections to extremist groups like the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers.

Emmons says extremist activity continues to rise in Florida and an added concern is that extremist groups are starting to work together.

RELATED: What DeSantis' conservative overhaul could mean for Sarasota's New College of Florida

You can listen to the full conversations by clicking on the “Listen” button above. Or you can listen on the WUSF app under “Programs & Podcasts.”

Hi there! I’m Dinorah Prevost and I’m the producer of Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show. That basically means that I plan, record and edit the interviews we feature on the show.
I am the host of WUSF’s weekly public affairs show Florida Matters, where I get to indulge my curiosity in people and explore the endlessly fascinating stories that connect this community.