Fears of violent clashes in the wake of the protests sweeping the US heightened over the weekend with a show of force by an armed black militia group.
An estimated 2,500 members of the Not F*****g Around Coalition (NFAC) took to the streets of Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, joining a protest march over police shooting dead Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black nurse, in March.
Wearing black combat fatigues and carrying automatic weapons, the group outnumbered a small clutch of Three Percenters, a far-right militia group that also made an appearance at the demonstration.
The two sides were kept apart by police, and the only incident came when three members of the coalition sustained minor wounds when a gun discharged accidentally.
However, the appearance of the two armed militias raised the spectre that future confrontations may not pass off as peacefully, given the backdrop of violent protests that have swept the US following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis in May.
Entirely separate from the Black Lives Matter movement, the NFAC is willing to use violence as the group’s leader “Grandmaster Jay” – whose real name is John Fitzgerald Johnson – made clear.
“We are all ex-military, we are very disciplined, we are all expert shooters,” he said in one recent interview. “We don’t want to negotiate, we don’t want to sing songs, we don’t bring signs to a gunfight. We are an eye for an eye organisation.”
Carrying echoes of the Black Panther Movement of the 1960s, the NFAC is militant and separatist, according to Mr Johnson.
Read more: The Telegraph