- Hundreds of members of the militia group the Three Percenters mobilized over the weekend to defend the Republican senators in Oregon who fled the capitol last week to block climate change legislation.
- The movement centres on the myth that only three per cent of colonists fought during the Revolutionary War.
- Here’s what you need to know about the group.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Hundreds of members of alleged militia groups mobilized over the weekend to protect Republican senators in Oregon who fled the capitol last week in an attempt to block the passage of landmark climate change legislation.
As INSIDER previously reported, upwards of 600 people were expected to mobilize on Saturday, consisting of 21 Oregon III% county groups, five Idaho III% groups, the statewide Nevada III% group, and six independent militias across the state, according to a source with Oregon’s Three Percenters.
Prior to this recent stand-off, the militia group was also involved in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover in 2016, in which armed protesters took over the refuge headquarters in Oregon.
The source told INSIDER that he doesn’t anticipate violence among Three Percenters, but did acknowledge that “I would not be surprised if every member of the group is armed,” adding that members are willing to “go to any lengths required” to protect the senators.
But, who exactly are the Three Percenters?
Created in response to the Obama presidency
The militia movement formed in 2008, according to the Anti-Defamation League, with its name originating from the myth that only 3% of colonists fought during the Revolutionary War. Members view themselves as “modern day versions of those revolutionaries, fighting against a tyrannical US government rather than the British.”
On its website, the movement claims that it’s not a militia group, but rather a “national organisation made up of patriotic citizens who love their country, their freedoms, and their liberty.”
The group insists they are not anti-government, but rather “very pro-government, so long as the government abides by the Constitution, doesn’t overstep its bounds, and remains ‘for the people and by the people.’ “
The movement was founded by Michael Brian Vanderboegh, a veteran of the 1990s militia movement and longtime leader of the anti-government “Patriot” movement, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
It was formed in response to Barack Obama winning the 2008 presidential election and mobilized around anti-government and anti-gun regulation issues.
Members are staunch supporters of the Second Amendment, willing to do whatever it takes to defend the Constitution and what they view as federal tyranny, according to Mother Jones. The publication noted that some members view themselves as the unofficial armed wing of the Trump revolution.
As noted by Reveal, the movement gained notoriety after self-identified members provided security during alt-right rallies, including during the violent 2017 “United the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Following that incident, the movement instructed members to distance themselves from white supremacist groups.
“We strongly reject and denounce anyone who calls themselves a patriot or a Three Percenter that has attended or is planning on attending any type of protest or counter protest related to these white supremacist and Nazi groups,” the statement read.
The source from the Oregon Three Percenters explained to INSIDER that every county group in the movement is completely autonomous.
“They share the same mission statement but beyond that there is no state leadership, no one in charge at the state level, we don’t go by military titles, we are all individual county groups,” the source said.
“We are more of a family than anything.”
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