Chelsea New, Gabby Silberman, Extremism; Beatrice Fratini, NORTHCOM
Week of: Monday, September 6, 2021
Flyer for Freedom of Choice protest in Las Vegas
The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) is issuing a FLASH ALERT for the Freedom of Choice’s (FOC) America Call Off & Protest, scheduled to occur on September 7, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Protesters, led by FOC activist Brandon Burns, will gather in front of ARIA Resort & Casino at 1600 local time and march along South Las Vegas Boulevard. CTG advises caution as a large number of people are expected to attend the event, likely causing travel disruption and possible social unrest. A high level of COVID-19 transmission is also likely, as a large part of the protesters are likely unvaccinated. Tourists and residents should avoid the area.
CTG is on HIGH alert regarding violence that may likely transpire at the protest and is continuing to monitor all social media platforms for calls of violence. Currently, there are no counter-protests planned; however, if a counter-protest does form, it could likely lead to violence. Some FOC members have talked about a fight to overtake the school board at the Clark County School District (CCSD), which passed vaccine mandates for its employees. This raises concerns as it could mean a portion of the FOC members is willing to use violence to fight vaccine mandates.
On September 2, 2021, the CCSD passed a resolution mandating vaccines for district employees, which includes but is not limited to teachers, school administrators, and bus drivers. In response, parents and activists decided to organize a Call Off Work day and a demonstration to protest against COVID-19 mandates. While most protesters support the idea of “freedom of choice,” regarding whether to follow COVID-19 guidelines or not, some members of the FOC Facebook group call for a more anti-vaccine approach. Some allude to the idea of a promised “insurrection” against a leftist radical government. The protest’s current Facebook event has over 300 individuals attending with over 800 individuals interested in attending. FOC’s Facebook group has grown exponentially over the last week, roughly doubling the number of members.
The protest will start at ARIA Resort and Casino and take place along South Las Vegas Boulevard between Harmon Avenue and Flamingo Road, also known as “The Strip.” This is an extremely populated area of the city, and it is where the most famous Las Vegas tourist attractions are located. CTG matrices indicate a MEDIUM to HIGH risk of disruptions within the area at the advertised protest times; means of transportation and businesses will likely be among the most affected. If acts of vandalism or violence take place, a significant number of people could likely be impacted, alongside local emergency services who may not be able to respond in a timely manner because of travel delays. Local emergency services may also be further affected if the protest is bigger than expected.
The protest could likely be a superspreader event, given the anti-vaccine stance of most FOC members and the contagious nature of the delta variant; many may not wear a mask, since the protest will occur outside. The delta variant is now the predominant strain across the United States (US) and is twice as contagious as other strains. Therefore, if a demonstrator has COVID-19, it will likely spread to other individuals who are not wearing a mask.
Violence could likely occur if counter-protesters arrive at the demonstration. While the anti-mask-mandate group may not fall along partisan lines, members who support anti-mandate views and freedom to choose may likely have more right-wing views. Some FOC members express pro-Trump views, exemplified by a newly-developed website that reads “Make Clark County School District Great Again.” This will likely draw the attention of left-wing counter-protesters and far-left movements, giving rise to clashes. Moreover, some FOC members have hinted at starting a fight to “overtake the current sitting board of directors” of the CCSD, calling on all “battle-born patriots” to join in eradicating politics and COVID-19 mandates from schools. This almost certainly suggests that at least a portion of FOC members are willing to commit violence. As the message spreads, more individuals who are willing to carry out violent actions in the name of medical freedom are likely to attend the event, likely contributing to a more dangerous environment.
Facebook post from Las Vegas Freedom of Choice
CTG recommends securing the area around South Las Vegas Boulevard before September 7, 2021. People should completely avoid traveling there between 1600 and 1800 local time. Those who travel to the area for essential reasons must remain cautious and vigilant, as well as follow guidance by law enforcement in charge of the event’s security. For more detailed information, such as a Threat Assessment report, or more tailored reports to specific threats, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) is a unit of the global risk consulting and security firm Paladin 7. CTG proactively searches for and analyzes the threat of terrorism that comes from International Terrorist Organizations, Domestic Terrorist Organizations, and Individuals determined to inflict terror upon societies, organizations, and individuals. CTG's international and national security professionals set up protective measures to detect, deter, and prevent, discourage, and dissuade any terrorist organization or individual from attacking organizations and individuals. CTG works to protect its clients from any terrorist threat or attack. It also works proactively with the proper authorities to find those in terrorist organizations and individuals who will cause harm and assist in bringing them to justice and mitigating the threat long-term.
 Trustees approve vaccine mandate for CCSD employees, Las Vegas Sun, September 2021, https://lasvegassun.com/news/2021/sep/02/trustees-approve-vaccine-mandate-for-ccsd-employee/
 Las Vegas Freedom of Choice, August 2021, https://www.facebook.com/groups/932412880674422/permalink/942417063007337/
 Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science, CDC, August 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/delta-variant.html
 Facebook Screenshot Las Vegas Freedom of Choice, September 2, 2021, https://www.facebook.com/groups/932412880674422/posts/940590513189992/?comment_id=941534546428922