A congressman and the chair of the Arizona Republican Party were among the speakers at a rally Monday evening dubbed “Patriotism Over Socialism.”
The Anti-Defamation League of Arizona said the rally was a right-wing event that would likely draw extremists.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) had said last week that hate and extremist groups planned to be at the Gilbert rally. One of the groups SPLC identified is Patriot Movement AZ, which had a table set up across from the stage.
Being labeled a hate group by SPLC is humorous, said Lesa Antone, founder of Patriot Movement AZ.
“I wear it as a badge of honor, to be quite honest, because I am pro-life. I am pro-God. I am pro-America. I am pro-immigrant. I am just pro-legal immigrant,” she said.
Members of another group called AZ Patriots recently left Patriot Movement AZ.
Jennifer Harrison said AZ Patriots, which also had a table at the rally, is focused on citizen journalism and border issues. She called SPLC the real hate group.
“Their main motive is to smear, dox and humiliate conservatives into silence,” Harrison said.
The three-hour rally included speeches by state Republican party chairwoman Kelli Ward, U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs and former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce.