22:09 GMT27 January 2020
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    Controversy continues to swirl around US Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) nearly a month after she called on Americans to protest Trump administration officials. A militia group was forced to cancel their protest outside Waters’ Los Angeles office due to a counter-demonstration by a leftist group.

    On June 23 Waters told a rally, "You think we're rallying now? You ain't seen nothing yet."

    "Already you have members of your Cabinet that are being booed out of restaurants… protesters taking up at their house saying ‘no peace, no sleep,'" she said. "Let's make sure we show up wherever we have to show up."

    She told supporters to "get out and you create a crowd and push back" on White House officials.

    Waters' remarks were interpreted by some as a call to violence and others as urging for civil resistance; since she made them, death threats have forced her to cancel a planned event.

    The Oath Keepers organization, a right-wing militia group tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch, put out their own call to action Tuesday on Twitter, dubbing Waters a "protest terrorist inciter," yet doing so in a statement saying, "This is a call to action to protest outside Maxine Waters' District Office in Los Angeles."

    "Stand against terrorism, stand for freedom of speech and association, in support of ICE/Border Patrol as they enforce constitutional immigration laws," the group urged their followers.

    The group, which bills itself as an association of current and former military members and police officers, is known for attending demonstrations while heavily armed, having done so in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 and Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. 

    Yet none of its members showed up to Waters' office on Thursday, even after she issued a statement "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."

    "The Oath Keepers have a history of engaging in violent and provocative behavior," Waters wrote.

    The only group that showed up were not supporters of Waters, as some outlets have reported, but the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). The RCP frequently makes headlines in the US for burning the American flag at demonstrations. One of its members, Gregory Johnson, was arrested at the 1984 Republican National Convention (RNC) for burning one, a case that ultimately made its way up to the Supreme Court, which affirmed the rights of Americans to set fire to their flag. Nonetheless, Johnson was arrested again at the 2016 RNC for the same reason.

    "If there's one thing you should know about the Revolutionary Communist Party, it's that they love burning American flags," wrote journalist Anna Merlan for Jezebel in 2016. The group did just that outside Waters' office on Thursday.

    Tweets from the scene describe RCP members stopping a truck which had a flag on the back, stealing it, dousing it in lighter fluid and setting it aflame.

    The LA branch of Refuse Fascism, a Trump-era RCP front group, tweeted that they had "politically counter[ed]" the "racist militia."


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    Flag Burning, protest, Oath Keepers, Maxine Waters
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