As Trump was preparing to address an audience in Florida on Saturday afternoon, in a speech which Reuters summarized as "returning to the campaign trail to attack the media again and tout his accomplishments in the friendly atmosphere of a rally with supporters", a group of supporters gathered for a pro-President Trump rally in downtown Atlanta armed with semi-automatic weapons.
The crowd met at Centennial Olympic Park. Those there told Channel 2 Action News that they are part of an area militia group, III% Security Force, which was also serving as security for the event.
As WSB-TV reports, members of the militia group said they were there to protect President Trump supporters.
"We're using our second amendment rights to protect the first amendment rights," Chris Hill said.
"Throughout the day we're going to have more people, more Trump supporters come to this corner, showing their support for President Trump. We are going to make sure that these people are safe and have the right to have their voices heard without fear of violence or intimidation from any opposing groups."
Hill said he has seen counter-protesters circling the block, but he and his group want to make sure things stay peaceful.
"We want to make it known that this is a peaceful event and we're going to do everything in our power to make sure that remains the case," he said. Hill said he expected 20 to 30 people to show up for the rally. He said a permit is required if there are more than 35 people, but he did not think that would be the case.
There were no reports of any confrontations or violence during the rally.
In an interview on its website with one of its founding members, the "Three Percenter" militia explains that it is "is comprised of men and women as citizens in esch state which come together to form a chapter. Each chapter is classified as being part of the “Unorganized Militia,” we are officially a civilian volunteer organization.
We will come to the defense of public and private property, lives, and liberty to exercise God-given rights, seen plainly in the laws of Nature, and codified in the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.
All local laws (not in violation of the U.S. Constitution and/or State Constitutions) shall be observed by members of III%SF. Each and every member and personnel within III%SF shall always conduct himself/herself with professional aptitude, integrity, and respect of others at all times. III%SF and its members shall not and will not ever cause or create any attempt to attack or overthrow any local, state, or federal department. We will never advocate or promote violence towards any organizations, groups, or persons.
GSF III% has a zero tolerance policy regarding racial discrimination. The Constitution says a militia is necessary for the security of the free state. The State of Georgia says the militia is comprised of all males between 17 and 45 and physically capable of acting in our common defense.
A video showcasing the group is shown below.