A gun-toting, "far-right militia" group has clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters in Louisville, Kentucky, as anti-racism protests reached their fourth month in the embattled nation.
The heavily armed pro-Donald Trump group was pictured shoving guns in the faces of BLM activists amid tense scenes.
The town of Louisville was experiencing large crowds because of the Kentucky Derby, a popular horse race that had been delayed since May because of the coronavirus, causing protesters and counter-protesters to come out in force.
The Black Lives Matter protests, which have been going for more than 100 consecutive days across the US, were initially sparked by the death of black man George Floyd while being arrested by a white police officer.
However, activists in Louisville protested with a new fervour yesterday as it is the home town of Breonna Taylor, a black medical technician who was fatally shot in her apartment by Louisville Metro Police Department officers in March in a botched raid.
Protesters decided to use the Kentucky Derby as an opportunity to call for justice for Breonna, but the anti-BLM militia group had other ideas.
Hundreds of far-right activists dressed in combat gear, waving American flags and Trump 2020 signs, and armed with semiautomatic weapons faced off with protesters in downtown Louisville.
The pro-Trump and pro-police demonstrators call themselves "The Angry Vikings" and sell themselves as a militia group, and vowed to defend the city from BLM activists.
The self-described "patriots" cleared out a park full of BLM protesters and were filmed chanting "USA, USA".
The scenes are reminiscent of alleged teen shooter Kyle Rittenhouse taking to the streets with his rifle, which resulted in the death of two protesters.
Some protesters were also concerned about what would happen if a heavily armed far-left group showed up — such as the self-described black armed militia, NFAC, and Until Freedom, both of which were among left-leaning groups planning rallies on Derby Day.
In less than an hour, police wearing riot gear came to the stand-off and cleared the park entirely.
However, police warned they anticipate more protests to come and remain on high alert.