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Maxine Waters To Supporters: Do Not Be ‘Baited’ By Armed Protesters Against Me

On Wednesday, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters issued a statement warning her supporters not to be “baited” into confronting armed protesters from a far-right militia group who plans to stage a potentially weeks-long protest outside her Los Angeles office over what they describe as her “incitement of terrorism.”

In the statement, Waters said that she’d been notified of plans for a protest outside her offices on Thursday by the Oath Keepers, a group that describes itself as a “non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to ‘defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.'” Waters warned her supporters not to be “baited” into confronting the group, which she described as an “anti-government militia” with a history of “violent and provocative behavior.”

“I have been notified that the Oath Keepers, an anti-government militia that has staged armed protests in cities across the country, is planning to protest my district office in Los Angeles tomorrow afternoon. I am requesting those individuals and groups planning a counter-protest to not be baited into confronting the Oath Keepers with any demonstration in opposition — such an occurrence would only exacerbate tensions and increase the potential for conflict,” wrote Waters.

“The Oath Keepers have a history of engaging in violent and provocative behavior,” she continued. “The group is known to protest in military-style clothing while carrying various assault weapons. The Oath Keepers would like nothing more than to inflame racial tensions and create an explosive conflict in our community. 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.”

The Oath Keepers announced their protest against Waters on their website, describing the congresswoman as a “terrorist inciter” who has promoted violence against members of Trump’s cabinet. The group encouraged other “patriotic groups” to join the protest, “so long as they support the Constitution and do not discriminate on racial lines.”

“This is both a protest against Maxine Waters’ incitement of terrorism, and a stand FOR ICE and the Border Patrol, as they enforce the perfectly constitutional immigration and naturalization laws of this nation,” the group said in the “call to action.”

On the rationale for the protest, the group cited Waters’ infamous call for more harassment. “If you see anybody from that [Trump] Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them! And you tell them that they are not welcome, anymore, anywhere,” she said. A few days later, Waters clarified that she was calling for “peaceful” protests.

The far-right militia group described Waters’ initial statement as encouraging “terrorist violence”:

Given the clear track record of Antifa, BAMN, and other far-left groups, which openly use violence and the threat of violence to intimidate and silence their political enemies, Maxine Waters either knew or should have known that her calls for people to harass Trump Admin officials would be answered by those inclined toward terrorist violence. It stretches credibility for her to assert she didn’t know that. And she also knew or should have known that this would cause fear of violence in the people she is targeting, which is in fact exactly what she wants to do, as noted above, to pressure them to change their views. She is inciting political violence (terrorism).

In its announcement of the protest, Oath Keepers quotes its founder, Stewart Rhodes, who called for the “‘sheepdogs’ within the American warrior class” to stand up to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” The group’s statement ends by instructing its “warrior class” activists to “keep your cool and stay calm, collected, and professional in your dealings with the public and any counter-protesters who may show up.”

Waters concluded her warning Wednesday by stressing that she supports “peaceful protests and civil dissent” and that law enforcement would be on the scene “to promote safety and security.”

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