Anti-fascist protesters gain bigger following in Madison

Group has started fights at rallies around U.S.
Anti-fascist protesters gain bigger following in Madison

The Black Block has been seen at a number of rallies around the country starting fights, and now the self-described anti-fascist group is popping up in Madison.

University of Wisconsin-Madison student Benjamin Chylla said he was confronted by one of the group’s members at Monday’s May Day protest downtown.

“He just like charged me right away,” Chylla said of the incident.

Chylla admits he was filming the group and said he disagrees with their views, but never thought those two factors would lead to so much tension. He captured the altercation on video. In it, a masked man charges at him and calls him a fascist.

“You can see several times that he’s trying to approach me and at times, even invades my personal space,” Chylla said.

A person claiming to be the masked man responded to News 3 on Facebook. He said he was the one being targeted. He went on to say the anti-fascist group he belongs to simply wants to destroy fascism, racism and other forms of hate. The man also said the group has gained a bigger following recently.

UWPD wouldn’t talk about the incident directly but said in a statement “We encourage a healthy and safe debate. Based on our community’s track record we have no concerns of violence, but we are ready to respond, if warranted.”

For Chylla, the incident is a sign that violence may lie ahead.

“Why would they get so provoked over some normal college kid filming them?” he said.

Chylla fears the typically peaceful protests of Madison are in jeopardy.

“In order to be welcomed at protest they have to show that they’re willing to move away from that and avoid resorting to that kind of behavior,” Chylla said.