This story has been updated. See below.
Following up on the successful pro-Trump rally at the state Capitol on March 4, which drew about 1,000 people and generally was peaceful, fans of The Donald are planning a Make America Great Again March in Phoenix this Saturday, but it's off to an inauspicious beginning.
The Facebook page for the upcoming event states that the march "will begin promptly at noon at Patriots Square Park opening with The National Anthem," and then will "peacefully march the 1.1 miles to our state Capitol steps."
There are a couple of problems with this plan. First, "Patriots Square Park" was swallowed up by RED Development's CityScape project a few years back.
Courtney Merz, a spokeswoman for CityScape, told me that the open air plaza, around which various retail businesses exist, now is called "Patriots Park at CityScape." She said the venue is private property.
Merz was unaware of the pending MAGA march, and said that to her knowledge, no one had approached CityScape about it.
Curiouser and curiouser, neither the lawn of the state House, nor the lawn of the state Senate have been reserved for the day by the MAGA march, according to the calendar on the state Legislature's website. However, there is an event scheduled from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on March 25 titled "Medal of Honor Remembrance Day."
I have reached out to Janet Maree, the woman who seems to be organizing the march, judging from her comments on the event's Facebook page. But she has yet to respond.
Recently, one commenter asked her if the speaker's list for the event had been finalized.
"No," Maree replied. "We are keeping it to a minimum though. This is about marching for our country."
The questioner, Nohl Rosen, responded, "Janet, I think people want to know."
Maree answered him, thus:
"I don't think it's important. If people are simply coming to hear others talk this isn't their event. The intent of this march is to show solidarity and support for our veterans, active military, law enforcement, 1st Responders, and our President and Vice President. It's a march not a rally."
When another person asks Maree if bikers will be at the event, Maree answers by stating that, "most of the bikers I know who are attending are not on [Facebook]."
The Phoenix event is one of several listed on the national website magamarch.org that supposedly are taking place on March 25 as well. There is also a GoFundMe account for the national effort, which has raised $10,100 over the past month.
Currently, there are 280 persons who have indicated that they will attend the Phoenix event, and 557 maybes.
Interestingly, the organizers of the Phoenix March4Trump rally — Barb Heller and Lesa Antone — both flatly told me that they are not involved in this MAGA march when I spoke to them recently.
I also e-mailed Tony Roman, a.k.a. Tony Wilk, whose group Arizona Liberty Guard provided security for the March 4 Trumpalooza, and asked if his group would be attending.
"We have not decided yet," he wrote back. "Probably not. However we will be monitoring the situation."
I should explain that Roman got back to me after one of my articles on the March 4 event, and answered a few questions about his group.
He said that ALG members did not answer questions at the rally on March 4 for security reasons and that ALG had cooperated with law enforcement during the event.
Why were the license plates not showing on two military vehicles used to transport his heavily-armed ALG members?
Roman said that the group had left its tail gates down while at the parking lot across from the Capitol to maintain their anonymity.
"We didn't want people taking our license plates, trying to find out who we were, where we lived, trying to do us harm," he explained. "Another safety measure. But when we departed the area, we stopped and put our tailgates up."
Roman also told me that he had offered the organizers of the event several options of how they could patrol the rally, and the organizers chose full battle dress. He stressed that the organizers wanted the ALG at the rally.
The ALG leader, who referred to himself as a "colonel," objected to the use of the term "militia" to describe the ALG, saying instead that it was a "defense and security group."
Asked if his group was a "Three Percenter" organization — a patriot movement that takes its name from the disputed claim that only three percent of the American populace fought the British during the American Revolutionary War — he did not demur.
"If this country had a catastrophe, would we respond?" he asked rhetorically. "Yes, we would. In what capacity that would be, I can't tell you."
One other note about the upcoming MAGA march: Antone made a comment early on in the discussion on the event's Facebook page about Tim Foley, the leader of the militia group Arizona Border Recon, possibly being a speaker at Saturday's march.
But Antone — who stressed that she has nothing to do with the march and likely will not attend — told me that Foley was unavailable to speak.
Update 3:47 PM: Janet Maree sent me the following comment via e-mail:
"I am not affiliated with this march any longer as I did not want it to turn into another `street activists' event, but it is in spite of my attempts."
Update 9:30 PM: Seems like Phoenix's MAGA March has new leadership, and a new meeting place: Cesar Chavez Plaza. Irony, perhaps?
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