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>> A leader of the new Black Panther party exclusively telling Reuters, Tuesday, that members will be armed for self-defense at protests in Cleveland, ahead of next weeks Republican National Convention. Reuters Ned Parker spoke with the group's chairman, Hashim Nzinga.>> Nzinga said he expected a couple hundred Black Panthers will go to the Convention and as long as it's in accordance with Ohio law, which allows for open carry, the Panthers would be armed.
He says that they should be armed because they need to protect themselves, that it's their right under the second amendment, and they don't believe that the police will protect them. And since there are groups that are hostile to them, it is in their interest to be able to defend themselves.
>> Several other groups, including some supporters of presumptive nominee Donald Trump, have said they also will carry weapons in Cleveland. Leading to concerns about rival groups being armed in close proximity. Tensions were already running high at the RNC after a lone gunman killed five police officers in an ambush in Dallas last week.
The shooter, 25 year old Micah Johnson had pledged support on Facebook to separatist organizations like The Black Panthers and the African American Defense League. But Nzinga tells Routers that he condemns the killing as a massacre and that his group played no role in the attack. Cleveland police stepping up security in the wake of the Dallas shootings, prohibiting guns on the Convention floor but authorities insist they will not restrict anyone's Constitutional rights.
>> People in this state have a right to open carry, there is a second amendment to the Constitution, we understand that. And our officers are prepared, they're used to seeing that in downtown Cleveland for different events. And we'll make sure that the people that are open carrying make sure that we understand what their rights are, and their responsibilities are, and we'll express that to them to make sure we're all on the same page.
>> About 40 groups, both in support of and against Trump have received permits to demonstrate at the Convention and if past events are any indication, things could get heated very quickly. Nzinga insists his group will only carry guns protectively, but there seems no doubt they are trying to be provocative.
The watchdogs at the Poverty Law Center, calls the New Black Panther Party, a racist organization that encourages violence against whites, Jews and police, but says the group has not actually carried out any violent attacks.