Screengrab of article on Huffpost website

“Steven Gardiner, a research analyst at Political Research Associates, a social justice think tank that monitors the far-right, said there has been a ‘tremendous increase’ in right-wing paramilitary activity this year.”

“ ‘It gained momentum, he said, during protests against lockdown measurers meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Armed militias circled — and sometimes even entered — state Capitol buildings, showing the often hands-off approach with which governments often treat white vigilantes.’”

“’If you get counterprotesters showing up who are armed, cops are almost always facing towards the Black Lives Matter and racial justice protesters, not towards the armed counterprotesters,’ Gardiner said.”

“This, he argued, has created an atmosphere in which paramilitary groups feel emboldened.”

“’Going forward, we need to seriously reconsider the permissiveness with which we are allowing armed paramilitaries to roam the streets of our nation’s towns and cities, as if this is normal,’ Gardiner said. ‘There’s nothing normal about this. We don’t want to be living in a war zone.’”

“ ‘This is a recipe for disaster,’ Gardiner said. ‘At a minimum, there needs to be a sorting out of who’s in charge, and some understanding of what the rules of engagement are for law enforcement and the National Guard, and who’s gonna play what role.’”

 

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