- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2020

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Several groups of people openly carried guns around the downtown of a Wyoming city after a day of protests against the death of George Floyd.

Some in downtown Casper sat in front of businesses. Others lingered at a place where the protests began hours earlier Wednesday, the Casper Star-Tribune reports.

They told a reporter they didn’t seek to disrupt additional protests but wanted to protect downtown should things escalate after dark.

Earlier, hundreds marched to protest Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25. The protests were peaceful.

Other protests in cities nationwide have been peaceful but in some cases followed by rioting and looting. Violence and destruction have declined in recent days.

“A bunch of guys are worried about our town,” said an armed man in Casper, Otis Bloom.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Wheeler stood on a corner with a long gun alongside five or six others.

It was “better safe than sorry” to stand watch, Wheeler said.

Gov. Mark Gordon has said he doesn’t intend to call up the National Guard like other states have done but is prepared to do so if necessary.

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