Protests in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday need seemed to draw out some strange responders: teenagers in military gear. A viral video from the demonstrations appears to show teens wearing military fatigues, helmets and riot shields, along with other equipment. It is still not clear if they were armed or if they were officially sanctioned in any way.
The video of "child soldiers" is making the rounds on Twitter this weekend, serving as yet another grim picture of civil unrest in the United States. The video was first posted around 2 a.m. ET by a Twitter account of a band called Fox Wound, and it showed four young people lined up outside of the Lennox Mall in stoic attention. So far, details on the clip have been few and far between.
Atlanta has deployed a child militia at Lenox Mall fitted with riot shields and batons. What the actual fuck is going on? pic.twitter.com/zTtmw5mDTN— Fox Wound (@foxwoundband) May 30, 2020
The Georgia National Guard was out in Atlanta on Friday night, according to a report by WSB-TV 2. As many Twitter users noted, the minimum age to join the organization is 17 years old, but many witnesses doubted the subjects in question were that old. Other videos seemed to show the same group taking similar positions in the daylight, indicating that they were out there for many hours.
Still, none of the videos have been adequately authenticated, and users continue to argue about whether they are even real. Some believe they come from another, unrelated incident, while some simply think they were staged as a publicity stunt for one agenda or another. No substantial evidence has been offered for any of these arguments. However, news outlets have reached out to everybody from the Atlanta Police Department and the National Guard to the witnesses themselves for more information. There have been no public answers yet.
Many people related the images of these children to President Donald Trump's tweets on Saturday morning. Describing the protests outside of the White House on Friday night, the president praised the Secret Service for their handling of the crowds. He even quoted an agent speaking to him, saying: "we put the young ones on the front line, sir, they love it, and good practice."