The New Black Panther Party, a "black power" movement, will carry firearms for self-defense during rallies in Cleveland ahead of next week's Republican convention, if allowed under Ohio law, the group's chairman said.
The plan by the group this weekend comes as police in Cleveland brace for an influx of groups that plan demonstrations before and during the presidential nominating convention.
During the attack last week in Dallas that killed five police officers, law enforcement officials said demonstrators carrying rifles led them to initially believe they were under attack by multiple shooters.
Several other groups, including some supporters of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, have said they will carry weapons in Cleveland.
Hashim Nzinga, chairman of the New Black Panther Party, tell that they will exercise the second amendment rights because there are other groups threatening to do harm to them.
"If that state allows us to bear arms, the Panthers and the others who can legally bear arms will bear arms."
Officials in Ohio have said it will be legal for protesters to carry weapons at demonstrations outside the convention under that state’s "open carry" law, which allows civilians to carry guns in public.
"Black power" groups promote defense against racial oppression, with some advocating for the establishment of armed self-defense groups, black social institutions and a self-sufficient economy.
The New Black Panther Party has long called for a separate black nation. But Nzinga said the movement was now focused on protecting black Americans' rights.
The New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (NBPP) is a U.S.-based black political organization founded in Dallas, Texas, in 1989. The Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights consider the New Black Panthers to be a hate group.