ATLANTA -- Far-right extremists had been gearing up for a confrontation with the group.
The leader of an all-Black militia told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday that his group of armed members will not show up to confront a coalition of far-right groups planning to hold a rally at Stone Mountain Park Saturday.
The far-right groups vowed to march on Saturday after the Black militia turned out July 4 at the park, home to the nation's largest shrine to the Confederacy and a lightning rod for protests in recent years.
"We are not -- and have no intentions of -- interfering with these folks' right to protest. Their are exercising their constitutional rights just like we did," said Grand Master Jay, leader of the NFAC. "We're not going to counterprotest. We're not protesters, we're not demonstrators. We're militia. "
Jay, whose real name is John Fitzgerald Johnson, led a column of hundreds of hundreds of black-clad, armed Black men and women in an unannounced march on Stone Mountain last month. Jay said the march was in response to an internet rumor that white nationalists planned to randomly target African Americans on July 4.
During that march, Jay called out the "white militia."
"We're here," he said. "Where you at? We're in your house. Let's go."
Extremist groups, including far-right militia groups known as "Three Percenters," responded almost immediately by announcing a rally Aug. 15 at the park. The coalition of groups includes neo-Confederates, white supremacists and other far-right groups, nominally led by an Arkansas-based militia called Confederate States III Percent.
Organizers applied for a permit to hold the rally July 27. The park denied the permit on Aug. 4, citing the potential for violence. Stone Mountain Memorial Association spokesman John Bankhead said the park has not received any other permit applications.
Last year, the park closed down rather than allow a rally organized by white supremacists to go forward.