D.C. is again bracing for confrontations between supporters and detractors of President Trump as Congress meets Wednesday to count the electoral votes of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in November — an outcome that Trump has successfully lobbied many GOP lawmakers to challenge.
Mayor Muriel Bower has asked residents to avoid downtown and clashes with Pro-Trump demonstrators, who have applied with the National Park Service for three different related demonstrations Tuesday and Wednesday, The Hill reported.
“I am asking Washingtonians and those who live in the region to stay out of the downtown area on Tuesday and Wednesday and not to engage with demonstrators who come to our city seeking confrontation, and we will do what we must to ensure all who attend remain peaceful,” Bowser said in a statement late Sunday.
Bowser’s office also issued a reminder of the local and federal gun laws, noting that carrying a firearm within 1,000 feet of any First Amendment demonstration is prohibited and guns are illegal on U.S. Capitol and NPS grounds, including Freedom Plaza and the National Mall.
Pro-Trump demonstrations in D.C. last month turned violent, as four people were stabbed during altercations between Trump supporters and counterprotesters. The event was also marked by the theft and burning of “Black Lives Matter” banners from prominent Black churches in the city.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said he worries that groups such as the alt-right extremist organization Proud Boys will again “pick fights, create damage, damage property, and then act in a very threatening way” during this week’s demonstrations.
“My level of anxiety is high. My preparation is even more intense than that,” Racine told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett in this week’s episode of “The Takeout” podcast.