The group claims to be American nationals but not US citizens. They have a Moroccan flag.
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The standoff stems from an incident hours earlier where a trooper stopped on I-95 to help two cars pulled over in the breakdown lane. State Police said it appeared the two cars were refueling, but the trooper quickly noticed eight-to-10 people were wearing full military-style uniforms. They were armed with long rifles and pistols. The trooper asked for driver’s licenses and proper licensing for the guns but they did not provide any.
— WBZ | CBS Boston News (@wbz) July 3, 2021
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They were allegedly headed from Rhode Island to Maine with camping equipment for training.
“This is not a well-known group. They’re not on the radar of law enforcement agencies widely across the country, but they are now,” WBZ security expert and former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said.
The leader of the group was live-streaming on social media during the incident. He said the group was not anti-government, anti-police, or sovereign citizens.
“These guys have hijacked social media and mainstream media in Massachusetts, to get their word out,” Davis said. “It’s very unusual – unless the group has a plan; unless the group has been thoughtful about merging on the public scene. If that was their plan today, they’re achieving that goal.”
Along with police, the group said they wanted a peaceful ending to the standoff.
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Two suspects were arrested around 6:45 a.m. but the highway is still closed as negotiations continue.