- Harrison Berry
- Members of Idaho III% at the Idaho State Capitol protesting the arrest of Eric Parker.
Parker gained notoriety in 2014 when he was photographed taking a sniper position atop an overpass, aiming his weapon at a group of federal law enforcement officers during a standoff at the Nevada ranch of Cliven Bundy.
"We have four Idahoans taken away from their families. It's unconstitutional," said Melanie K. Hessler, an attendee who spoke to the flag- and banner-waving audience. "You can't make things up as you go along."
The U.S. Department of Justice announced March 3 a federal grand jury in Nevada had charged 14 people in relation to the standoff. Four of those charged were Idahoans, including Parker, who has been charged with one count of felony conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer. He has also been charged with using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer, threatening a federal law enforcement officer, obstruction of due administration of justice, interference with interstate commerce by extortion and interstate travel in aid of extortion.
If convicted, Parker could spend decades in jail and face more than $1 million in fines.
Noting the charges faced by Parker, members of Idaho III% and supporters said the time had come to sound an alarm about the abuse of federal power and the need to recruit others into their organization.
"Divided we will fall—that's guaranteed," said Idaho III% President Brandon Curtiss. "If you don't put your differences aside, you're here for the wrong reason. We need to come together."
Idaho III% is part of the so-called Patriot Movement, a loose coalition of militias and politically conservative groups. Vicky Davis of The Voice of Idaho—a John Birch Society-affiliated online information outlet—defined their movement's ideological opponent, which she said is active within federal agencies: communism.
"That's what we are fighting. When they were taking [Cliven] Bundy's land, they were taking the means of production," she said. "These people behind us in the Statehouse are a bunch of cowards and whores and sellouts."
Before ascending the Statehouse steps and gathering in the Capitol Rotunda, Idaho III% Zone Leader Brooke Agresta read a prayer for Parker and others arrested in connection with militia movement activities, swearing to have the prayer tattooed onto her back.
"I promised I would bring them home," she said.