(U//FOUO) FBI Domestic Terrorism Symbols Guide: Anarchist Violent Extremism

The following document is part of the FBI's Domestic Terrorism Symbols Guide and was obtained from the public website of a law enforcement professional association.

Domestic Terrorism Symbols Guide: Anarchist Violent Extremism

Page Count: 2 pages
Date: May 2022
Restriction: For Official Use Only
Originating Organization: Federal Bureau of Investigation
File Type: pdf
File Size: 575,728 bytes
File Hash (SHA-256): FA08C857EE186244E02F0776AA33A1CEC6184FDC335538E6B3D1FBB06F3060FB

Download File

(U//FOUO) The following symbols and phrases are sometimes used by anti-government or anti-authority violent extremists, specifically anarchist violent extremists (AVEs). AVE symbols are often found on online platforms, in propaganda, and as graffiti. Some common themes for AVE symbols include images and stylized rhetoric conveying anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, or anti-government or anti-law enforcement sentiment. Although the majority of criminal activity by AVEs violates state or local laws, some crimes may be investigated and prosecuted at the federal level. The use or sharing of these symbols or phrases alone should not independently be considered evidence of AVE presence or affiliation or serve as an indicator of illegal activity. Additionally, some individuals use such references for their original, historic meaning, or other non-violent purposes. The FBI does not investigate, collect, or maintain information solely for the purposes of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment.


(U) Targets (U) Political and economic events, and events related to social issues; Perceived racists and fascists; Law enforcement; and Property (commercial, government, law enforcement, and personal)

(U) Objectives (U) Event disruption; Confrontations; Challenging and attempting to undermine law enforcement authority; To cause an economic impact

(U) Tactics (U) Black Bloc: tactic often used during mass mobilizations to hide one’s identity during criminal activity by dressing in black or dark clothing and covering one’s face with bandanas, balaclavas, costume masks, or gas masks.

(U) Grey Bloc: a means to blend into a crowd by dressing in or donning street clothing before or after criminal activity. AVEs often break away from the main group to participate in criminal activity.

(U) “Be Water” or “Be Like Water:” phrase to encourage others to move quickly and fluidly to evade law enforcement detection.

(U) “No Cameras/No Press:” used as a reminder to avoid or limit the chance for photographic or video evidence of criminal activity that may later be used in arrests or for prosecution.

(U) Doxing: is the research and public release of personal identifiable information obtained through social media or open sources. (Note: Some doxing may be legal, and may be First Amendment protected-speech, depending on the specific communication and context.)

(U) Weapons (U//FOUO) Improvised incendiary devices (IIDs) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) including flares, fireworks (legal and illegal), and Molotov cocktails, etc. Some may carry lawfully owned firearms.

(U//FOUO) Improvised or Weapons of Opportunity: Baseball bats, bear or pepper spray, bike racks, brass knuckles, bricks, construction materials, edged weapons or knives, flag poles, frozen water bottles, hammers, makeshift shields with protruding screws, lead pipes, metal chains with locks, rocks, umbrellas, wooden dowels with bolts, wooden sticks, and bottles filled with irritants, such as bleach and urine, etc.

(U) Communication (U) Encrypted applications, code words, flags, hand held radios, hand signals, in-person meetings, megaphones, private messaging, etc.

(U) Monitoring of police radio frequencies to determine areas to avoid or redirect others away from law enforcement.

(U) Criminal Activity (U) Physical assaults, property damage, vandalism, arson, inciting riot, etc.

(U) Some potential applicable federal statutes include: Title 18 USC 33; Title 18 USC 111; Title 18 USC 115; Title 18 USC 231; Title 18 USC 372; Title 18 USC 844; Title 18 USC 1361; Title 18 USC 1951; Title 18 2101; Title 26 USC 5861; Title 26 USC 5845

Share this: