Heavily armed pro-Trump supporters and far-right militiamen have rallied near Churchill Downs in Louisville to protect the city from a day of Black Lives Matter protests due to begin during the annual Kentucky Derby.
Hundreds of men in military gear and armed with semi-automatic weapons were in action in Cox Park Saturday morning after a number of local social justice organizations announced plans to rally over the police shooting of Breonna Taylor.
A group of self-described "patriots" and militia members, led by a far-right activist identified as "The Angry Viking", were seen carrying guns, American flags and Trump 2020 badges as they passed through the demonstrations before the demonstrations Area patrolled.
The group told local news networks that they are fed up with the protests and destruction that has rocked the country for the past three months and should protect the city from the chaos to come.
Protesters and right-wing activists from Black Lives Matter were seen in downtown Louisville during the Kentucky Derby
Members of a Trump-supporting militia gathered earlier to protect the city from protesters
A man in riot gear and holding a rifle is seen confronting a Black Lives Matter activist
A man with a semi-automatic shotgun stands in front of Dylan Stevens, who calls himself "The Angry Viking" at a meeting of far-right activists and self-described militias on the day of the Kentucky Derby horse race in Louisville
The 146th annual Kentucky Derby has been postponed to September 5th of this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. A spectator blocks their eyes from the sun as the first race at Churchill Downs begins
The death of Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot dead in her home by Louisville police in March, sparked tense demonstrations across the city for 100 consecutive days.
The three officers involved in her death were not charged.
However, the case is being investigated further. However, the protesters vowed to take to the streets during the famous horse race if investigators didn't make a decision before the weekend.
Black-armed militias NFAC and Until Freedom, both of which had previously held rallies for Taylor in town, said they wanted to demonstrate again on Derby Day, according to WLKY.
The far-right activists cleared the park shortly after 11 a.m. before marching downtown, where protests and counter-protests are due to begin this afternoon.
Dozens of men in military gear and armed with semi-automatic weapons were on duty in Cox Park Saturday morning before planned demonstrations called for justice for Breonna Taylor
A man stands as security during the rally on Saturday. The group said they plan to protect the city from any destruction by protesters
Guest of Kentucky Derby entering Tiz the Law booth during the national anthem ahead of the 146th run of the famous horse race on Saturday
Full Authority is accompanied by a trainer in the paddock before a race. The event on Saturday is the first time the derby will be held without a spectator thanks to the coronavirus pandemic
Law enforcement is preparing for a day of protests and potential counter-protests to take place during the derby. A banner reading “No Justice, No Derby” was hung on the Big Four Bridge in Waterfront Park prior to the race
Footage shared on social media showed armed Trump supporters hoisting American flags as they marched down the street chanting, "USA, USA, USA!"
The prospect of rioting on Derby Day doesn't let contestants know what to expect.
The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department said it will coordinate with the groups so that protesters can express their freedom of assembly while maintaining safety on the streets.
Churchill Downs, home to America's longest uninterrupted sporting event four months later than usual, won't be cheering – or cursing for losing bets – from 150,000 fans this year.
The race, which usually takes place on the first Saturday in May, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and organizers had planned to welcome a reduced crowd of less than 23,000 spectators. until escalating positivity rates for COVID-19 in Louisville dictated otherwise.
The 17-horse field will break off on Saturday by a new starting gate that may only be used for the derby. It fits 20 horses, the typical size of the field, which is a little smaller this year.
Two members of the National Guard cavort in the stands at Churchill Downs as a horse is led to the paddock for the first race before the 146th Kentucky Derby
A handful of people were allowed into the venue when the event started. The horse owner Keith Delaney (right) put on a mask at the first race
Horse owners walk through the paddock ahead of the 146th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Messages (t) Breonna Taylor (t) Black Lives Matter