Hasim Nzinga, the chairman of the New Black Panther Party, said members of his group will carry firearms during protests at the Republican Party’s convention in Cleveland, if allowed by law, because they’ve been threatened and need to defend themselves.
“If it is an open state to carry, we will exercise our Second Amendment rights because there are other groups threatening to be there that are threatening to do harm to us,” Nzinga said, Reuters reported. “If that state allows us to bear arms, the Panthers and the others who can legally bear arms will bear arms.”
Nzinga also condemned last week’s “massacre” of police in Dallas, and said the New Black Panther Party did not have any role in that attack.
Ohio officials have already deemed it legal for protesters to carry weapons so long as they’re in compliance with state “open carry” laws. Other groups planning to attend, including some affiliated with presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, said they’ll be carrying firearms as well, Reuters reported.
Nzinga specified he believed “a couple hundred” New Black Panther Party members were going to be on hand to march and rally at the Cleveland convention, scheduled for next Thursday.