Oath Keepers ‘bowed out’ of planned protest at Maxine Waters’ Los Angeles office

www.nydailynews.com

 

The Oath Keepers broke their pledge.

The right-wing militia group failed to show at a planned protest outside Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ office in southern Los Angeles Thursday after publicizing the event online.

The group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, said the group “bowed out” at the request of Los Angeles police after Waters’ supporters started gathering at the office Thursday morning.

“They strongly advised us to not proceed,” Rhodes told the Daily News in a brief phone interview Thursday evening.

Rhodes said he never planned to attend the event in person and that it was organized by his group’s California chapter.

“It was peaceful. We didn’t have any issues,” a source with the LAPD told The News.

“I think that they probably made the smartest decision they’ve made in a long time,” community resident Cliff Smith said in phone interview after attending the counter-protest.

Smith, an organizer for a union representing hundreds of local roofers, wore his hard hat and carried a sign that read, “Down with Trump!”

“Don’t Mess With our Queen MAXINE,” read another sign held by a counter protestor, according to a live stream of the event from a Twitch.tv user who goes by the screen name imreaLLyimportant.

Smith said 15 members of his union showed up to support Waters and that the “two or three people” who appeared and “raised people’s antennas” with their right-leaning rhetoric were “shown their way out of the area.”

“There were a couple people who potentially might have been sniffing around (for the Oath Keepers), but nobody was really following through on the action,” he said.

Waters, known for being one of President Trump’s most outspoken critics, became a target of the group after she made comments urging people to confront White House officials they encounter in public.

In a statement Wednesday, Waters pressed her supporters to stand down.

“The Oath Keepers would like nothing more than to inflame racial tensions and create explosive conflict in our community,” she said in a statement posted on social media. “In order to ensure the peace and security of our community, it is best and preferable if no other demonstrations are scheduled.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Oath Keepers as “one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today.”

“While it claims only to be defending the Constitution, the entire organization is based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government working to destroy the liberties of Americans,” the Center says.

Rhodes disputed that characterization Thursday, saying his group does not “foment violence” and is “completely non-racist.”

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