Armed militia surrounded a pastor in a Black Lives Matter shirt Saturday after a social media hoax suggested Antifa was planning to burn US flags in the area.
Footage shows Trent Somes telling the group he was visiting an ancestor’s grave at the cemetery in the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania on July 4.
Right-wing groups had assembled there after being duped by an apparent online hoax which suggested that anti-fascists planned to burn flags at the Civil War battleground.
Somes, an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Hanover, was eventually led away by police after he was approached by around 50 people.
Posts, which claimed to be from Antifa, had been shared to alt-right websites and social media groups in the run up to July 4. But when counter protesters turned up to the site and found no such event their attention turned to Somes.
It is not clear who was responsible for the original social media posts but towns in New Jersey, South Dakota and Michigan have seen similar hoaxes since the death of George Floyd in Minnepolis police custody.
‘I didn’t do anything to them’, Somes told The Washington Post.
Jason Martz, acting public affairs officer for Gettysburg National Military Park, said: ‘For his own safety, federal law enforcement made the decision to remove him, and he was escorted out of the cemetery.’
At one point in the clip Somes is asked: ‘Why are you wearing that shirt though?’
Another person threatens to beat Somes ‘and his dad up’. One tells Somes: This is real America. Black Lives Matter and Antifa are not real America.’
Somes replies: ‘I was on my way out and you surrounded me.’
An officer then appears and tells Somes: ‘You may want to deescalate before we have to intervene in a law enforcement capacity.’
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Source: Daily Mail