Canada designated the far right Proud Boys as a banned terrorist organization on Wednesday as the authorities described the movement as a “serious and growing threat”.

“Founded in 2016 and present in Canada, the United States and other countries, the Proud Boys played a “pivotal role” in the insurrection at the deadly US Capitol on January 6″, the public safety ministry said in a statement.

According to the Canadian government, it is a “neo-fascist organization that engages in political violence” and whose members “espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and/or white supremacist ideologies.”

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Being added to the watch list does not automatically criminalize the groups themselves, but allows authorities to seize their assets and prosecute members or associates for carrying out extremist activities.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said the group members “represent a serious and growing threat to Canadian society.”

“There has been a growing body of evidence of the escalation of violence that this group has been involved in,” he said, noting that Canadian authorities have been monitoring the Proud Boys since 2018.

Members number possibly in the thousands in North America and they are present in every major Canadian city, an official told a briefing.

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Three other “ideologically motivated violent extremist groups” — Atomwaffen Division, the Base and Russian Imperial Movement — were also added to Canada’s list of banned terrorist groups, which was created after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

The remaining listed entities are affiliates of Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group, as well as the militant Kashmiri liberation group Hizbul Mujahideen.

Each is believed to have “knowingly participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity,” the ministry said.

The list features some 70 groups.