A group of armed protesters protesting the order to stay at home in North Carolina went to a restaurant in Raleigh this weekend, their arms slung over their shoulder and was caught in photographs that went viral.
Travis Long, a photojournalist for The News & Observer, said he shot the Pictures inside a metro on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh.
One photo shows a protester carrying what appears to be an AT4 rocket launcher and two pistols in waist holsters. Another shows a protester holding a large weapon on his shoulder as he appears to be taking a selfie. Only two of the demonstrators who appear in the photos wear masks.
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Saturday’s protest was organized by a group called Blue Igloo, according to The News & Observer. NBC News contacted Blue Igloo for comment on Sunday, but did not immediately receive a response.
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In a video posted on the group’s Facebook page, members can be seen entering the sandwich shop and heading to the counter to order meals.
“Do you mind if we eat here?” The person recording the video can be heard asking. “We don’t want to sound like we are threatening or intimidating someone, that’s why I’m asking. “
The protest took place on Saturday during the first full day of gradual reopening of North Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first phase, which began Friday evening, parks and some businesses were allowed to reopen while respecting guidelines for social distancing. Meetings are limited to a maximum of 10 people.
As of Sunday morning, there have been 14,764 confirmed cases and 547 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in North Carolina.