The Oath Keepers, an anti-government, conservative organization composed of former military personnel, police and first responders, showed up unannounced at the protest marking the one-year anniversary of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown.

The Washington Post’s Abby Phillip described the scene:

Members of the group arrived on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson in the early morning as protests wound down just before 2 a.m.

The small group of men — dressed in military-style camouflage and bullet-proof vests, and armed with long guns — initially startled protesters, some of whom asked the Oath Keepers to leave. But they insisted that they were “on their side,” and had arrived to protect protesters from police, who stood standing watching in riot gear across the street. They said Missouri law permitted them to openly carry legally owned weapons.

When the Oath Keepers crossed to the same side of the street where police stood, protesters followed. But police didn’t react to their presence.

The complacency shown by the police to a group of heavily armed white men inserting themselves into the midst of the protest raises the question: Has anything really changed in Ferguson?

Read more here.

–Posted by Clara Romeo

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig