Several people participating in the Montezuma County Patriots’ Freedom Ride on Main Street in Cortez incorporated Three Percent flags on their vehicles on Saturday, a flag that has signified an American and Canadian far-right movement.
The flag includes the Roman numeral for three with stars in a circle around it.
Three Percenters advocate for gun ownership rights and resistance to the U.S. federal government’s involvement in local affairs, according to Wikipedia.
The name Three Percenters comes from the group’s disputed claim that only 3% of American colonists took up arms against Great Britain during the American Revolution.
The Anti-Defamation League, an international Jewish nonprofit that combats anti-Semitism and other forms of hate, describes the Three Percenters as “anti-government government extremists who are part of the militia movement.”
Some Three Percenter groups deny being militias and anti-government. The bylaws of the Three Percenters — Original, which were published in 2016, say they are not a militia and not anti-government, but that they are pro-government so long as it abides by the Constitution.
The Three Percent flag addition on at least three vehicles in the Montezuma County Patriots comes after a domestic terrorism plot from a far-right militia movement, so-called the Patriot Movement, to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
According to the FBI’s criminal complaint, five of the six men arrested in the plot participated in firearms training and other combat drills at a home linked to the Three Percenters group in Cambria, Wisconsin, in July. Michael Jung, who described himself as “second in command” for the Three Percenters in Wisconsin, said the men did not discuss the plot while they trained at his home, according to CBS in Milwaukee.
Ghere said the Three Percent flag has mixed meanings, and that the “three percent” is the portion of the population that “made America what it is.”
She said she doesn’t think the flag is flown in the Freedom Rides to signify the far-right militia movement.
Cortez Mayor Mike Lavey said Saturday people have contacted him with concerns about the use of the Three Percent flags. One woman suggested contacting the FBI.
“I hope it’s not something that is active here,” Lavey said. “It’s very undemocratic, and it’s sad what almost happened in Michigan.”