Like many of the restaurants and businesses in downtown Fayetteville, the Coffee Cup and Wine Cafe will be closing today by 4 p.m.
An anti-human trafficking and pedophilia march is planned to be staged starting at 5 p.m. in front of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. Members of the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters, both far-right groups with a reputation for potential violence, are expected to be on hand for the rally for what one of the organizers said was to protect the women and children from any anti-protest factions.
Members of the Proud Boys plan to join this QAnon-inspired march largely organized by online apparel designer Emily Dean and Heather Holmes, the Republican candidate for state House District 44 in Fayetteville.
More: Members of far-right group the Proud Boys expected to be at Fayetteville march
QAnon is a far-right U.S. conspiracy theory popular among supporters of President Donald Trump. It centers on the baseless belief that Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals.
“I am praying for a big storm from heaven today to keep people away,” said Angie Malave, the 53-year-old owner of the Coffee Cup and Wine Cafe on Hay Street. “I am a woman of faith. My business is in God’s hands.”
Malave said police had advised her Friday to close early “because there would be a protest and (potential) counter-protest. For safety, they advised us to close early. They were going door to door.”
Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin and Bianca Shoneman, who is president and CEO of the Cool Spring Downtown District, did not immediately respond to phone and email messages.
Haja Mohamed, a cashier at the Downtown Deli on Hay Street, said a policeman dropped by Friday and first notified them of the Saturday march.
“He asked us if we could close up earlier because of the march,” she said.
Mohamed said the deli will adhere to the officer’s advice. “So we plan on closing at 4 (p.m.),” she said.
An employee at another Hay Street business said they, too, had been advised to close early.
“Pretty much everybody is closing up,” she said, adding that she was not in a position to speak on behalf of the business.
Saturday’s rally, scheduled to get underway at 5 p.m. in front of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, will begin with a half-hour slate of speakers. Among them will be Beverly Weeks, who is with Cry Freedom Missions, a nonprofit organization based in Goldsboro that aims to eradicate sex trafficking.
At 5:30 p.m., the 90-minute march will commence, with participants making their way along a couple of city blocks before ending back at the Sheriff’s Office at 131 Dick St.
Established in 2016 in New York, the Proud Boys is a far-right extremist organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group. Social media platforms Facebook and Instagram have banned the Proud Boys, citing their policies against hate groups.
According to published accounts, the Proud Boys are opposed to Black Lives Matter protests and consider attempts to remove statues of Confederate leaders and other historical figures as a left-wing plot to “destroy American history.”
The Three Percenters are a national organization made up of what they call “patriotic citizens who love their country, their freedoms and their liberty.”
A previous statement sent to USA Today for a 2018 story claims the Three Percenters movement is “not a militia” and “not anti-government,” but exists to “to reign in an overreaching government and push back against tyranny.”
According to published accounts, Three Percenters are an extremist anti-government militia.
Staff writer Michael Futch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-486-3529.
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