Extremist Groups Surround Republican Convention
Hate groups will be protesting or supporting Donald Trump's candidacy
Recent shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rogue have tensions strained and nerves fried across the country.
And as Republicans gather for their convention in Cleveland, extremist groups like the New Black Panthers Party and white supremacist group American Freedom Party will be outside the Quicken Loans Arena.
With that many extreme points of view gathered in one place and an Ohio law that allows open carrying of weapons, police officers see the potential for violence.
Steve Loomis, the head of the largest police union in Cleveland, said he is worried about safety.
“It’s absolutely a horrifying thought,” Loomis told the Los Angeles Times . “I am literally on my knees begging these folks to not bring these guns.”
Here’s a look at some of the extremist groups and individuals who will be demonstrating outside the convention:
Westboro Baptist Church
This organization, run by religious zealot Fred Phelps, is best known for its anti-gay demonstrations at military funerals, and carrying antagonistic signs with messages like “God Hates Fags” at the protests.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the church as “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America.”
New Black Panther Party
This black nationalist group claims to be an offshoot of the Black Panther Party from the late 1960s and 1970s, but members of the original group have accused the New Black Panthers of hijacking their original name and reject them as a “black racist hate group.”
The SPLC describes it as “a virulently racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers.”
Hashim Nzinga, chairman of the New Black Panther Party, told Reuters that the group will be armed.
“If it is an open state to carry, we will exercise our Second Amendment rights because there are other groups threatening to be there that are threatening to do harm to us,” Nzinga said.
It’s a far-right political group of former law enforcement officers that is militaristic and warns that the federal government is encroaching on American’s freedoms. They have a set of “Orders We Will Not Obey” that include any type of removal of firearms from Americans and orders to comply with any martial law or state of emergency.
American Freedom Party
This white-nationalist group from California wants to protect “the core European-American population” from an “immigration invasion” and a tyrannical federal government.
The group’s president, William Johnson, who was once mistakenly listed as a Donald Trump delegate, told the Los Angeles Times that, “I would like a separate white ethno-state. … I think diversity and multiculturalism is a failure, and I think it’s going to destroy civilization.”
Blood and Honour USA
This violent, skinhead group claims to be an American member of the United Kingdom group of the same name . Members of the group will be wearing shirts that bear a symbol of the SS of Nazi Germany as they gather outside the GOP convention to support Trump, according to the Anti-Defamation League .
The political activist plans on being at the convention. The SPLC calls Geller , “the anti-Muslim movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead.”
She is best known for sponsoring a Texas cartoon contest of the Prophet Muhammad that inspired an armed attack and her protest of a Muslim community center that was planned near Ground Zero of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers.
Stachowiak is a member of the Patriot Movement , an anti-government organization that is coming to Cleveland to support Trump and called on former military veterans and police officers to “come lawfully armed with lethal and non-lethal weaponry,” according to the Anti-Defamation League . The Georgia extremist has called for the bombing of Mecca and labeled Black Lives Matter activists as “terrorists.”