The Army last week warned all military personnel in the United States to avoid 37 American cities this week over concerns that anti-police protests, dubbed “Days of Rage,” are planned and could turn violent.
The July 8 notice from the U.S. Army North said there is a potential for violence or criminal activities in the aftermath of the shootings of five Dallas police officers.
The Army notice appears based on an online rumor, since denied, that the anarchist hacker group Anonymous had called for nationwide protests Friday in the U.S. cities.
Snopes.com reported Tuesday that the rumor calling for Days of Rage protests is false and is based on an identical false posting that circulated online and in emails in August 2014, related to the Ferguson, Missouri, protests against police.
A U.S. Army North spokesman, Lt. Col. Jason Shropshire, said the safety of soldiers and their families is a high priority. “For security reasons, we don’t discuss force-protection measures that we put into place at our Army installations or the specifics of cautionary advice we provide to our soldiers,” he said.
“However, the advisory was to provide situational awareness for all Army personnel within the U.S. Northern Command area of responsibility who may find themselves in the vicinity of any protests (planned or spontaneous),” he added in a statement. “At this time, we do not have information regarding any specific threats to DOD personnel.”
The notice says that “being anywhere near these protests greatly increases the chance that you could become a victim of violence. When the mob mentality takes over, normally decent people can commit heinous acts.”
The “Alcon” notice — short for “all concerned” — urges commanders to pass on the warning to all Army troops who may be traveling to the cities.
“Use this as a list of places NOT to be on Friday the 15th,” the notice says. “While the media does specify nonviolence and denounces the actions taken against police officers that were not involved in these deaths, with the tagline ‘Day of Rage’ it is safe to expect emotions to be running very high on both sides of the line. No matter how great your empathy might be for those who have unjustly lost their lives, these protests are not safe places to be.”