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Heavily armed protesters gather to protect Black Lives Matter demonstrators holding rally in Austin

Austin police are bracing for chaos as heavily-armed activists from rival groups face off in the city one week after a Black Lives Matter protester was shot dead. 

On Saturday evening, a group of gun-toting men were seen protecting demonstrators at a makeshift memorial for Garrett Foster – the 28-year-old who was killed during a BLM march last weekend. 

Across the street, camouflage clad members of the far-right paramilitary group Three Percenters stood watching on, brandishing semiautomatic weapons in an intimidating manner. 

Police have bolstered their forces amid fears tensions between the two groups could explode.  

Witnesses say Garrett Foster (left) died trying to protect his wheelchair-bound fiancee Whitney Mitchell (right) after a car drove at them during a Black Lives Matter protest in Austin

Witnesses say Garrett Foster (left) died trying to protect his wheelchair-bound fiancee Whitney Mitchell (right) after a car drove at them during a Black Lives Matter protest in Austin

The Austin Police Department released saying they have called in extra cops to help protect both people and property should things go awry. 

‘We are bringing in the necessary staff, and have partnered with other local law enforcement agencies as we have done throughout the past few months, to allow for those peacefully and lawfully practicing their first amendment rights while also working to prevent any violence or destruction of property,’ a statement from the Department read. 

Crowds paying tribute to Foster are expected to link up with a separate rally to ‘amplify Black Austin voices and demand defunding of the Austin Police Department’ which will move through the city. 

Police have also issued a warning to locals living in the downtown area to be ‘on guard’ amid rumors activists could break into high-rise residential buildings and stage rallies from rooftops. 

Two police helicopters were reported to be circling over the city at 8pm.   

The city is on high-alert following the shocking slaying of Foster at the BLM march last Saturday night. 

Army Sergeant Daniel Perry, 33, opened fire on Foster after  driving into a crowd of demonstrators. 

Perry claims he came across the protest by accident while working as a ride share driver, and that he only opened fire in ‘self defense’ after Foster allegedly waved his AK-47 at him.  

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