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Romania arrests American neo-Nazi leader charged with conspiracy to commit riots

Robert Rundo, the founder of the Rise Above Movement, faces charges of fomenting violent protests.

Logo of the Rise Above Movement. Credit: ADL.
Logo of the Rise Above Movement. Credit: ADL.

Heavily armed Romanian police brought violent, neo-Nazi leader Robert Rundo’s flight from justice to an abrupt halt in Bucharest on March 29. The police acted on a U.S. extradition request.

Rundo, 33, is charged with conspiracy to commit riots for his role in trying to provoke violence at political rallies in California and other states from December 2016 to October 2018. He allegedly trained members of his white supremacist group to fight. He also appears to keep a framed Adolf Hitler portrait in his home.

When first charged in 2018, Rundo fled to Central America, where he was previously extradited. When a judge dismissed the charges, Rundo then traveled to Eastern Europe, where he allegedly moved around the Balkans with false documents. In 2021, the judge’s dismissal was reversed, and Rundo was re-indicted in January.

In May 2022, Rundo declared: “My goal is to be James Bond someday. But right now, I’m Jason Bourne. I’m on the run. I’m on the nitty-gritty side of things … . Going from country to country.”He is known for founding the Rise Above Movement, which uses fitness and martial arts to spread neo-Nazi ideology in “active clubs.”

The group describes itself as the “premier” mixed martial arts club of the alt-right, and it participated in the Unite the Right rally in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Va.

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