A Fourth of July rally and protest in Richmond, Va., saw an unlikely alliance form between armed Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists and “boogaloo boys” in defiance of white nationalism and in support of the Second Amendment, video from the event shows.
Both groups arrived in downtown Richmond to support gun rights and in the midst of a larger controversy surrounding a Robert E. Lee statue that BLM activists believe should be taken down. Each group was heavily armed, but no violence was reported, and it doesn’t appear that any arrests were made.
The potentially explosive incident began when the boogaloo group, the BLM group, and a white nationalist group all gathered in the same area to protest. The boogaloo contingent was led by a 19-year-old named Mike Dunn, according to reporting from NPR, and he welcomed the armed BLM group as fellow advocates for gun rights.
But the white nationalists began yelling “Heil Hitler” and goose-stepping, according to Dunn. The boogaloo group stopped the white nationalist before things turned violent, and Dunn later told the crowd that racist behavior is unacceptable.
“When we saw that happen… I’m not for that, and I don’t think many of you are. We can’t do that,” he said.
In the video, members of the crowd can be heard shouting, “They gotta go!” and “Get ‘em outta here!” and “We don’t do that Nazi shit.”
“We don’t do that Nazi shit!”— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) July 4, 2020
Mike Dunn, a marine veteran and the organizer of the event, talked to his group after the confrontation explained what happened. pic.twitter.com/pIcgzyNFGN
Later in the day, both groups locked arms to move into an area the police had barred from protestors. The police didn’t stop them, and no arrests were made, according to an eyewitness video.
“We locked in unity to come back and take what’s ours,” one of the protestors says.
“This is ours! This ain’t the governors. This is ours!” Dunn says and he locks arms with a BLM activist.
This clip better represents the vibe of the day.— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) July 4, 2020
Earlier, police had refused to allow the #BlackLivesMatter and #Boogaloo people in a certain area.
They linked arms and went into the area (armed) without police intervening. No arrests made today. pic.twitter.com/6sNde0tCHe
The ”boogaloo” movement is a group of ideologically disparate sects who unite around the inevitability of a second Civil War, the dangers of an overreaching government, and support of the Second Amendment. They often wear Hawaiian shirts and openly carrying firearms. Some groups seem to have ties to white supremacists, but Dunn’s group is, apparently, not one of them.