Great Britain

Residents carrying AR-15s and wearing bullet proof vests take to the streets ‘to defend’ neighborhoods and businesses

Rifle-wielding residents and their kids block Florida street to ‘stop looters’

NATIONWIDE protests by unarmed civilians in the wake of George Floyd's death are now being met with armed vigilantes who believe it is their responsibility to enforce law and order.

Some stand outside of businesses and other sites where they suspect property could be destroyed, while others have turned toward peaceful protestors who have taken to the streets in the week and a half since Floyd's death.

Many carry AR-15s, the semi-automatic rifles best known as the weapon of choice in America's deadliest mass shootings.

States where such vigilantes have appeared include Pennsylvania, California, and Illinois, according to the Daily Mail.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, groups of volunteers are stationing themselves on rooftops and aiming guns at potential looters.

They claim they have no other option because law enforcement has abandoned their neighborhoods.

"If you're up here with a gun and you're not supposed to be here and you don't have a license to carry, then I don't allow you to even go to the rooftop," Cesia Baires, a member of Minneapolis group Security Latinos De La Lake, told NPR. "Only people with guns are on the rooftop."

"It's not something that I would want, but we've seen how, for at least the first couple days, we were left alone," Baires said.

"There were no cops that would come around. So what are we to do? Just stand there and do nothing?"

Security Latinos De La Lake is supportive of the protests, but against the destruction and vandalization of community businesses, many of which are black- and brown-owned.

"It's important to tell people we're not going to shoot anybody," William Martinez, another member of Security Latinos De La Lake, told NPR.

"We don't have that idea. But we want to prevent people who are going to hurt Latino families."

Other groups, meanwhile, are composed of ex-cops spouting conspiracy theories about Antifa pushed by President Trump.

In Idaho, white vigilantes answered a call to arms on Facebook that claimed an insurgence of "ANTIFA agitators" was about to descend on various towns, according to the Washington Post.

No such agitators arrived.

Antifa is not, as President Trump has falsely claimed, an organization.
It is a political ideology followed by various groups of local activists, none of which have been linked to the ongoing protest violence.

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