Photos show protesters were met with counter-protesters, including an armed Oath Keepers militia.
The Oath Keepers "is one of the largest radical antigovernment groups" with beliefs "based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Following Wednesday's announcement of a Louisville grand jury's decision to forgo charges against the three police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor, protests erupted across the country.
In March, the officers shot Taylor eight times in her home during a botched drug raid. Earlier this week, a grand jury declined to charge two out of three of the officers involved.
One former officer, Brett Hankison, was charged, but only for firing bullets into a neighboring apartment.
Community activists have taken to the streets to protest the decision. One community activist previously told Insider's Taylor Ardrey and Ellen Cranley that "We are very disappointed in the charges, and we are disappointed that an apartment building is more important than a Black woman's life."
The demonstrations continued Thursday. In Louisville, protesters in support of the Black Live Matter movement faced counter-protesters, including an armed Oath Keepers militia. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Oath Keepers as a large, extremist "radical antigovernment group" with beliefs "based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories."
Protesters have taken to the streets in support of Black Lives Matter following the grand jury's decision to not charge the officers for their involvement in Breonna Taylor's death.
Hankison was charged with three counts of "wanton endangerment" for shooting into a neighboring apartment, but not over Taylor's death. The felony charge has a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Protests immediately flooded the streets of Louisville following the announcement of the decision.
"I feel pain. I am tortured. I feel sorry for people who are in the streets. I'm sorry about their disappointment...It's heartbreaking," Sadiqa Reynolds, the head of Louisville Urban League, previously told Insider.
On the second day following the jury decision, Louisville Black Lives Matter protesters were met with armed counter-protesters.
On Thursday evening, protesters confronted armed counter-protesters dressed in military-style attire in the streets. The encounter occurred as demonstrators marched through the streets at around 7:30 p.m., the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
The counter-protesters belonged to the extremist 'Oath Keepers' militia.
Photos show that the armed counter-protesters are part of the Oath Keepers, and The Courier Journal and Louisville NBC affiliate WAVE reported that armed counter-protesters wearing military-style gear identified themselves as members of the Oath Keepers.
It's an extremist right-wing militia.
The Oath Keepers is an extremist organization "based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories" and "one of the largest radical antigovernment groups," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Much of the group was dressed in military garb.
This is not the first instance that armed counter-protesters have escalated tensions at anti-racism protests in Louisville.
Earlier in September, an armed group of counter-protesters faced off those protesting in wake of Taylor's killing at Louisville's Metro Hall, The Washington Post reported.
The anti-racism protesters and militia members clashed.
Activists tried to defuse any confrontations between them.
A video posted to Twitter shows one anti-racist activist telling fellow protesters to "walk through and keep moving. Do not engage these people with guns."
—Chris Kenning (@chris_kenning) September 24, 2020
Some protesters tried to reroute the march from the Hampton Inn parking lot, where the Oath Keepers stationed themselves.
Protests continued throughout Thursday night.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer ordered a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. It's now in effect through the weekend, according to a news release from the city.
Defying the curfew Thursday night, protests continued after 9 p.m. The Courier Journal reported that several Louisville Metro Police Department officers were witnessed arresting protesters for violation of the curfew.
Protesters sought refuge at the First Unitarian Church of Louisville to protect themselves from arrest.
Under the Louisville mayor's executive order, the curfew "does not apply to people commuting to work, house of worship for services or seeking medical attention for themselves or others."
The First Unitarian Church of Louisville offered the space as a sanctuary for protesters who sought protection from arrests after the curfew.
"This is what churches are supposed to be. They're supposed to be sanctuaries and havens for people who are in need. So this is absolutely what all the churches should be doing," Unitarian minister Rev. Dawn Cooley told WAVE.
A reverend at the church told the Courier Journal that police told him they didn't plan to enter the building.
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