Rival heavily armed groups were gathering near government buildings in Richmond, Virginia, ahead of planned protests against Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in Washington.
Footage captured by UK broadcaster Sky showed heavily armed Trump supporters as they marched the streets, and a motorcade made up of personal vehicles, many adorned with pro-gun flags and placards, and some with pro-Trump messaging.
Several different armed groups were present, many with different and sometimes conflicting ideologies including those who were pro-Donald Trump and those who were anti-government, with some groups identifying as rivals to others.
Speaking to Sky, one man defended carrying a rifle by saying that he believed authorities would interfere with protests if he were not armed.
“If we come out here unarmed, they’ve (police) shown a history of doing things they shouldn’t be doing,” he said.
Also present were members of the Black Panthers movement, some of whom were also armed.
Authorities in cities across America have been preparing for protests following the storming of the Capitol building in Washington on January 6, with government buildings boarded up and a heavy police presence.