WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Five members of the white nationalist group “Proud Boys” showed up at the New Hanover County School Board meeting Tuesday evening.

They entered the board of education building to stand watch at the meeting.

None of the members of the Proud Boys formally addressed the board during public comment, but they gave people speaking against the mask mandate a standing ovation.

School board member Nelson Beaulieu had little to say about the presence of group members.

“I really have no comment,” said Beaulieu. “Everyone’s entitled to show up, no violence, no outbursts. Everyone’s entitled to be here and have their voices heard. I don’t have to agree with any of them, but they’re entitled to their First Amendment protections and that’s what they decided to exercise here tonight.”

The Proud Boys is a far-right, neo-fascist organization that’s tied to political violence. It was designated as a terrorist group in Canada earlier this year.

Members of the group tell WECT they assembled to hear the mask discussion, and say they’ve attended meetings in the past, but this was the first time they’ve shown up in their “colors” representing the Proud Boys.

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