TORONTO – Nearly three months after Canada declared the Proud Boys a terrorist entity, the Canadian chapter of the militant far-right group claims it has “officially dissolved.”

Members of the Proud Boys, founded in the United States by a Canadian, joined the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol in January.

In a statement posted on social media Sunday, the group said “there is officially no longer any Proud Boys in Canada.” It cited the financial difficulties of mounting a legal challenge to overturn the government’s terrorist entity designation.

The designation in February did not make it illegal to belong to the group, but it did carry financial and legal consequences. Authorities can add members to the no-fly list. Banks can freeze their assets and police can seize their assets. It’s a crime to knowingly provide assistance to the group, including by purchasing merchandise.

“The truth is we were never terrorists or a white supremacy group,” the Canadian chapter said in its statement, posted to its official channel on the Telegram messaging app. “As a fraternity of men we had thought of pursuing the case legally but we have no financial support, given we are not funded by the rich.”

The Proud Boys have come under increasing scrutiny since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which led to five deaths. Analysts say they were emboldened last fall when then-president Donald Trump, pressed during a presidential debate to condemn them, told members instead to “stand back and stand by.”

Canada is believed to have been the first country is the first to have declared the group a terrorist entity.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in February that the group posed the “most significant threat” to domestic security. He said intelligence officials, who’d monitored the group since 2018, noticed an “escalation toward violence” and that the Capitol attack produced a “trove” of evidence that helped inform the decision.

The Proud Boys, a group of self-described “Western chauvinists” formed by Canadian Gavin McInnes, have had a smaller footprint in Canada than in the United States. At least one chapter here said in January that it was disbanding. Global News reported last month that Colin Browne, an Ontario lawyer who identified as a Proud Boy, was pursuing a legal challenge to the terrorist entity designation. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Several prominent members of the Proud Boys have been arrested and slapped with federal charges since the attack on the Capitol. Prosecutors allege that some were closely involved in planning much of the violence, and that they led early efforts to overwhelm police and to break into the building.

In the weeks since, analysts say, members have sought to distance themselves from the organization. Several U.S. chapters have split from the national organization and denounced it, leading to concerns that the remaining core could develop into a more violent organization led by members of its more extremist factions.

In a statement posted to the same Telegram channel, the U.S. Proud Boys said the Canadian chapter had “become a political tool by the ruling elite of the Canadian government.” It said the Canadian members “have sparked a movement” that “can NEVER be undone.”

“The ProudBoys in Canada is no more,” it said. “Anyone walking around in Fred Perry polos and ProudBoys gear are simply posers to the organization.”

Canadian lawmakers voted unanimously in January to urge Ottawa to designate the group a terrorist entity “immediately.” The nonbinding move that drew a backlash from national security analysts, who said that it risked the politicization of what’s supposed to be a legal process.

At the time of Blair’s announcement, some analysts asked why groups with ideological similarities to the Proud Boys that have been active in Canada weren’t also listed. Blair denied that the listing was influenced by politics.

The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, an Ottawa-based nonprofit, expressed concern that labeling the Proud Boys a terrorist entity would expand the definition of the term in a way that could be harmful.

“Future Canadian governments could easily take advantage of a growing acceptance of the terrorist entities list to add those fighting for justice – but against their political interests – to the list,” it said in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in January. “And we would be left without credibility to challenge them.”

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