New Black Panther Party says to carry arms in Cleveland if legal

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July 12 (Reuters) - The chairman of the New Black Panther Party, a "black power" movement, said his group will carry arms for self-defense during protests at the Republican convention next week if allowed under Ohio law.

"If it is an open state to carry, we will exercise our second amendment rights because there are other groups threatening to be there that are threatening to do harm to us," Hashim Nzinga, chairman of the New Black Panther Party, told Reuters in an interview.

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"If that state allows us to bear arms, the Panthers and the others who can legally bear arms will bear arms."

Nzinga condemned the killing of five police officers in Dallas last week as a "massacre" and said his group played no role in the attack.

See photos in the aftermath of the Dallas shootings

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Dallas shooting victims, memorials and aftermath
Brent Thompson, of Dallas Area Rapid Transit, one of five officers killed in a shooting incident in Dallas, Texas, U.S., is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters July 8, 2016. Brent Thompson via LinkedIn/Handout via Reuters
This is Brent Thompson with his grandson. He's the first DART officer killed in the line of duty. https://t.co/XQuoF8xnCZ
Love you brother. Couldn't be prouder. We'll see you again. #PrayForDallas https://t.co/1oqeBxai7x
AP identifies Officer Patrick Zamarripa was one of the slain Dallas police officers... https://t.co/QxX4gHxfHu https://t.co/eZFlsm6KXX
Chicago Police Sgt. Charmane Kielbasa places a note of support on the bronze medallion at The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, Friday, July 8, 2016. Five law enforcement officers were killed in Dallas on Thursday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Emergency responder vehicles sit outside of the emergency room at Baylor University Medical Center, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Investigators leave the home of Micah Xavier Johnson in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, Texas, Friday, July 8, 2016. A Texas law enforcement official identified Johnson, 25, as the sniper who opened fire on police officers in the heart of Dallas during protests over two recent fatal police shootings of black men. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Noelle Hendrix places flowers near the scene of a shooting in downtown Dallas, Friday, July 8, 2016. Snipers opened fire on police officers in the heart of Dallas during protests over two recent fatal police shootings of black men. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Five red roses, a bouquet of flowers and a note of support for the Dallas Police Department lies on the bronze medallion at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, Friday, July 8, 2016. Five officers were killed in Dallas on Thursday. (AP Photo/Paul Holston)
Five red roses are seen on the bronze medallion at The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, Friday, July 8, 2016. Five law enforcement officers were killed in Dallas on Thursday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
FBI investigators look over the crime scene in Dallas, Texas, U.S. July 8, 2016 following a Thursday night shooting incident that killed five police officers. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
WASHINGTON, USA - JULY 8: The American Flags surrounding the base of the Washington Monument, with the US Capitol in the distance, are flying at half staff after President Obama ordered them to be lowered in honor of the five Police Officers killed by a gunman in Dallas the night before in Washington, USA on July 8, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 8 : People attend a vigil outside Dallas Police headquarters in Dallas, Texas, USA, 08 July 2016. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 8 : People attend a vigil outside Dallas Police headquarters in Dallas, Texas, USA, 08 July 2016. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 8 : People attend a vigil at the Cathedral Santuario De Guadalupe for the victims of Dallas shooting in Dallas, United States on July 8, 2016. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 8 : People attend a vigil outside Dallas Police headquarters in Dallas, Texas, USA, 08 July 2016. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 8 : People attend a vigil at the Cathedral Santuario De Guadalupe for the victims of Dallas shooting in Dallas, United States on July 8, 2016. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 8 : People attend a vigil outside Dallas Police headquarters in Dallas, Texas, USA, 08 July 2016. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Officials in Ohio have said it will be legal for protesters to carry weapons at demonstrations outside the convention under the state's "open carry" laws. Several other groups, including some supporters of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, have said they will carry weapons in protests as well, leading to concerns about rival groups being armed in close proximity.

Nzinga said he expected "a couple hundred" members of the New Black Panther Party to join a black unity protest that is scheduled to be held on Thursday in Cleveland. (Reporting By Ned Parker; Editing by David Rohde and Stuart Grudgings)


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