This Saturday, a crew of heavily armed men fought in a prolonged stalemate with Massachusetts policemen, triggering shelter-in-place instructions in some places as well as generating massive traffic delays throughout the holiday weekend while a portion of I-95 stays blocked. At a news conference on Saturday, authorities said the standoff commenced approximately 2 a.m. when officers observed two vehicles halted on I-95 with their headlights on.
On their own website, the crew claims to be committed to “educating new Moors and influencing our Elders,” as well as they stated in YouTube footage of the event that they were simply attempting to go quietly to their “private land” to stay and “train” on Saturday. They were on their way through Rhode Island toward Maine, according to reports.
When one of the police officers came to their assistance, they observed the group of people were dressed in military uniforms and wielding a large number of weapons. The trooper demanded driver’s licenses and firearms licenses, but the guys reportedly refused to hand them or lay down their guns. According to authorities, the trooper sought help, but several of the men escaped.
A representative of the militia, clad in camo clothing, claimed they were driving with fuel tanks to replenish their vehicles so that they could prevent “making any unnecessary stops” in a live broadcast video on the group’s YouTube website dubbed “Peaceful.” They didn’t like to “stop and alert or alarm the public,” he added. They had broken no laws, he said, because they were authorized to own weapons in the region through which they went.
In a later video, he said that the police noticed them upon on the roadside with their weapons drawn and that the gang was terrified, so they fled. He stated that he encourages them that they were following federal laws. “But they keep portraying us as anti-government, but we’re not anti-government at all.”
A few police cars including spikes on the road were reported by the individual live broadcasting, as well as armed men frightening them.
“We have no intention of fleeing,” he added, noting that they would prefer to deal with the situation “peacefully” so they could proceed on their route.
Families in Wakefield and Reading were told to seek shelter when a part of I-95 was blocked on both sides. To obstruct the roadway, heavy vehicles were also pulled in. By mid-morning Saturday, the closure had not been lifted.
At 9:30 a.m., state police issued a tweet. EDT
Two suspects have been arrested by members of @NEMLEC on North Ave, Wakefield. MSP has taken custody of and transported them to one of our barracks. The situation is ongoing w/remaining members of the group. We continue to work to resolve the situation peacefully. https://t.co/1bZWM1vYKS
— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) July 3, 2021
Two arrests were made, according to police, but the all-clear still has to be provided. According to reports, authorities described the standoff as a “highly dynamic and evolving situation.”