Washington activates National Guard for pro-Trump demonstration
Washington, Jan 4 (efe-epa).- Washington DC authorities have activated at least 340 National Guard troops to protect the US capital in the face of a demonstration called for Wednesday by supporters of President Donald Trump.
The organizing groups have estimated that about 15,000 people will gather in downtown DC when Congress meets to certify the Electoral College votes from the Nov. 3 presidential election, which Democrat Joe Biden won but which Trump has steadily refused to acknowledge.
Capital Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference that she was considering the option of declaring a curfew and the Metropolitan Police chief, Robert Contee, said that he had received information that certain individuals will try to enter the District of Columbia with assorted weaponry.
Contee added that the authorities expect a larger crowd at the demonstration than at previous pro-Trump events in the city, some of those earlier demonstrations having resulted in violent confrontations.
Trump, who has filed – and lost – dozens of lawsuits in various courts around the country claiming election fraud in the Nov. 3 balloting, has been pressuring Georgia electoral officials to “find” the 11,780 votes he needs to deny Biden the win in that state.
In a message on his Twitter account, the president has insisted that it is “statistically impossible” that he lost the presidential vote and has referred to the pending Washington demonstration, which has been billed in MAGA circles as the “March for Trump” and “March to Save America Rally” in DC on Wednesday.
“Be there. Will be wild!” Trump tweeted on the weekend in urging his supporters to show up at the demonstration.
Various factions loyal to Trump are saying that they are organizing the March for Trump and one of them by that very name has called on its backers to defend the US against what it asserts was election fraud that denied Trump reelection.
Neither the president nor his backers have yet put forth any credible evidence that significant instances of election fraud occurred.
The Department of Justice and election authorities around the country – including those governed by Republicans – have said that there is no evidence of generalized election fraud in the Nov. 3 vote and they have acknowledged the results that gave Biden more than 80 million votes to Trump’s 74 million, along with a crucial 306 electoral votes for the Democrat, handily above the 270 needed to win the presidency.
Among the other groups supporting the march are Million MAGA March, along with militant groups like the Three Percenters, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, who are mobilizing caravans to head to DC, where local authorities intend to prohibit them from carrying weapons, in contrast to what those groups have done at other demonstrations.
Bowser, meanwhile, said that under federal law it is illegal to carry firearms at the US Capitol and in National Park Service zones, including Freedom Plaza, the Ellipse and the National Mall.
Thousands of Trump supporters marched in Washington in mid-December, many of them outfitted in combat gear, and when night fell at least four people were stabbed near a bar that had been transformed into a meeting place for the Proud Boys.