Weeks after the California Democrat encouraged protesters to harass officials in the Trump administration, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters is expressing concern that demonstrations against her could turn violent.
Specifically, she referenced the Oath Keepers, a group consisting of military veterans and former law enforcement officers that released a “call to action” this week encouraging ongoing protests outside of her Los Angeles office and across the city.
Waters described the group as an “anti-government militia,” according to ABC News, echoing a distinction the Oath Keepers received from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
She went on to add that the “group is known to protest in military-style clothing while carrying various assault weapons.”
Addressing her supporters in a Facebook post this week, the congresswoman warned them to avoid the protesters.
“In order to ensure the peace and security of our community, it is best and preferable if no other demonstrations are scheduled on the same date and time as the Oath Keepers’ planned protest,” she wrote.
“I am requesting those individuals and groups planning a counter-protest to not be baited into confronting the Oath Keepers with any demonstrations in opposition,” she wrote. “Such an occurrence would only exacerbate tensions and increase the potential for conflict.”
According to Waters’ assessment, the protesters are aiming to create further division with their call for an extended demonstration.
“The Oath Keepers would like nothing more than to inflame racial tensions and create an explosive conflict in our community,” she said.
According to her social media post, Los Angeles police officers plan to be at her office this week to “ensure safety and security” amid the planned demonstration.
“My primary concern is to maintain the safety and security of the protesters, staff, and constituents of California’s 43rd Congressional District — a task that would be exceedingly complicated by large crowds of protesters and counter-protesters,” she wrote.
In its description of the protest, the group mentioned Waters specifically, describing her recent public statements as an “incitement of terrorism.”
Though she subsequently denied she ever intended to encourage violence as some critics had suggested, Waters nevertheless earned criticism for her apparent support of disruptive protests aimed at individuals serving in the Trump administration.
“I want to tell you, these members of his cabinet who remain and try to defend him, they won’t be able to go to a restaurant, they won’t be able to stop at a gas station, they’re not going to be able to shop at a department store,” she said last month. “The people are going to turn on them.”
In addition to opposition to Waters, the Oath Keepers cited “a stand for ICE and the Border Patrol” as a motivation for the protests.
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