Updated April 13th, 2024 at 17:31 IST

'We'll Murder You': Indian-American Pro-Palestine Protestor Held for Threatening US City Officials

After her viral rant at a council meeting in California's Bakersfield, Riddhi Patel has now been arrested and charged with 16 felony counts.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Riddhi Patel during one of her viral rants at the council meeting. | Image:X
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An Indian-American woman from Bakersfield, California has gone viral for all the wrong reasons when she was filmed threatening city officials during a council meeting on Wednesday. In two separate rants, Riddhi Patel (28) was seen and heard threatening the council members and city mayor over their apparent lack of support for a cease-fire in Gaza and regarding the new security measures put in place by the city in response to anti-Israel protests. 

During her first address during the public comments section of the council meeting, Patel, who emphasised that she was speaking in support of a ceasefire in Gaza, accused the council of not caring for oppressed people across the world “because you're horrible people and Jesus would've killed you himself.”

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As part of this same rant, she went on a bizarre tangent about Mahatma Gandhi and Navratri when she said, “…You guys, those who vote to win in Bakersfield, parade Gandhi around and a Hindu holiday called Chaitra Navaratri that starts this week. I remind you that these holidays that we practice, that other people in the global south practice, believe in violent revolution against their oppressors.”

"And I hope one day somebody brings the guillotine and kills all of you m*********ers," she added. 

As shocking as this display already was, Patel was not done and returned later on to comment on the enhanced security measures put in place around government buildings in Bakersfield in the light of ongoing anti-Israel protests. 

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Stating that these measures, including metal detectors and increased guard presence, had been put in place to “criminalise” protestors, Patel ended her rant by saying "We’ll see you at your house. We’ll murder you." 

As she walked away following her shocking declaration, Mayor Karen Goh called out after her and said "Ms Patel, Ms Patel, that was a threat – what you said at the end. And so the officers are going to escort you out and take care of that."'

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A local media outlet, quoting Bakersfield police officials, said that Patel had, subsequently, been taken into custody and faces 16 felony charges for the threats she made. 

Protest groups swiftly distanced themselves from the comments made by Patel after her arrest, with one, the United Liberation Front, taking to social media with a statement that such threats ran counter to their “values.”

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Who is Riddhi Patel?

After the shocking incident and her arrest, several local news organisations looked into Riddhi Patel's background and reported that she works as an Economic Development Coordinator for the Centre for Race, Poverty and Environment.

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After she went viral for her recent comments, netizens found out that Patel has a history of making such controversial remarks, though in decidedly less public settings.

Back in 2021, Patel reportedly made a post on Facebook using objectionable language against PM Narendra Modi and Indian American politicians Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley.

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Published April 13th, 2024 at 17:29 IST