Leaders of the New Black Panther Party announced they would be deploying armed guards to a number of polling places in the Atlanta area to monitor “white supremacist violence” as voters cast their ballots in the Georgia Senate runoff election.
“No one will come and touch, harm, threaten, do anything to any person walking into that voting booth to exercise that right. This is a legal position that we are taking. We are in position so that if anything happens to anyone, we are here to offer you legal representation. We are here to offer you security. And that’s that. And may the best person win,” Khallida Ramla Bastet said at a press conference Monday.
The armed patrols will be conducted at polling locations in Brunswick, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; and Atlanta between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. and then again between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., according to the group. The intent is not to intimidate voters as they cast their ballots, the group said, maintaining it does not endorse either candidate.
The New Black Panther Party was founded in 1989 in Dallas, Texas, as a black nationalist group that is anti-capitalist and seeks to fight the oppression of black and brown communities. The group is not affiliated with the Black Panther Party, a similarly aligned group that focuses more on black nationalism and socialism.
The Black Panther Party has repeatedly rejected the New Black Panther Party, denouncing it as illegitimate.
Several organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, consider the New Black Panther Party to be a hate group, accusing its leaders of being racist and antisemitic.