Washington, DC, authorities called in the National Guard and banned guns ahead of Wednesday's election protest Trump said will be 'wild'
- Washington, DC, is bracing for possible violent clashes after a wave of pro-Trump protesters is expected to descend on the city this week.
- The National Guard has been activated to assist with crowd control and Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued reminders that guns are not allowed at rallies.
- The protests are expected to coincide with members of Congress meeting on Wednesday to confirm the presidential election results.
As Washington, DC, prepares for a wave of pro-Trump protesters due to arrive in the city on Tuesday and Wednesday, the city's mayor ramped up warnings for residents and measures to tamp down potential violence.
Supporters of President Donald Trump who hold the delusional belief that President-elect Joe Biden's election victory was fraudulent are expected to make their last stand in the nation's capital this week. Trump last month promised his supporters that there would be a "wild" rally in Washington, DC, on January 6, the day Congress is set to meet to certify the presidential election results.
"Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election," Trump tweeted at the time. "Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"
After Mayor Muriel Bowser requested on New Year's Eve to have National Guard members on the streets from January 5 to 7 to help with the protests, more than 340 troops are set to be activated as the city braces for possible violence at the gathering, the Associated Press reported.
Bowser asked during a press conference on Monday that people stay away from downtown DC and avoid confrontations with anyone who is "looking for a fight."
—Jesse Burkett-Hall (@BurkettHall) January 3, 2021
The Guardsmen will be used mostly for traffic control or crowd control, and will not be armed or wearing armor, according to the AP.
"Some of our intelligence certainly suggests there will be increased crowd sizes," Acting Police Chief Robert Contee said at the press conference. "There are people intent on coming to our city armed."
Under federal law, it is illegal to carry guns on US Capitol grounds and on National Park Service areas such as the National Mall.
—Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) January 3, 2021
This time, though, there will be even more desperation as some protesters believe this will be their final opportunity to stop a Biden administration from entering the White House.
Wednesday's gathering of congressional lawmakers is a formality in which they officially approve the long-decided count of electoral votes.
Trump lost to Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 306 electoral votes to 232, a result confirmed by the Electoral College on December 14.
While not much can be done to legally prevent Biden's presidency, some pro-Trump Republicans have said they plan to disrupt the formal process.
—Marjorie Taylor Greene (@mtgreenee) December 19, 2020
"That sense of panic and urgency will be a motivator for believers to attend rallies that day," said Jared Holt, who tracks far-right extremism and disinformation at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensics Research Center, told Politico. "For these groups and their supporters, President-Elect Joe Biden's incoming administration feels like more of an immediate threat to their agenda items."
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