Militiamen, white nationalists and so-called Proud Boys are set again to be among the supporters of President Trump participating in protests being held for him this weekend around Washington. D.C.
Local activists, including anti-racist and anti-fascist groups, accordingly plan to counterprotest, creating the possibility of sides clashing in the capital for the second time in as many months.
Several demonstrations are scheduled to be held Saturday in D.C. that are being organized by supporters of Mr. Trump protesting his recent defeat to Democratic challenger Joseph R. Biden.
The leader of Oath Keepers, a nationwide militia group, said he was seeking military and police veterans with combat experience to help protect Trump supporters from “leftist terrorists” he expects.
Posting on the Oath Keepers site Thursday, Stewart Rhodes claimed his group has a large number of current or retired police officers who are legally able to carry a concealed gun nationwide.
“The leftist terrorists know our police go armed, and they don’t know which among the Oath Keepers they are looking at are police,” he wrote. “We always mix in our police with our military members.”
Websites notorious for catering to white nationalists and white supremacists – namely the long-running Stormfront forums and The Daily Stormer blog – have each been promoting the festivities online.
Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio noted on social media that signs have recently been plastered around D.C. featuring his face and declaring him and his men’s group unwelcome in D.C., meanwhile.
Mr. Tarrio, a former Republican congressional candidate, also shared on social media an article written by a former Daily Stormer contributor predicting violence and “trouble” in D.C. this weekend.
“They’re getting steamrolled if they attempt to f– with us,” Mr. Tarrio posted on the social media service Parler where he shared the article.
Oath Keepers, white nationalists and Proud Boys previously hyped similar pro-Trump events held in D.C. last month in the aftermath of the White House race being called for Mr. Biden.
Those protests were largely peaceful, but fights erupted in the evening and at least 20 people were arrested and several injured. Local activists later accused Proud Boys of stabbing three people, and police recovered multiple illegal or unregistered weapons.
Black Lives Matter DC, Shut Down DC, Remove Trump and Standing Up for Racial Justice DC are among several local activist groups to sign a statement Thursday calling for counterprotests.
“DC residents do not feel safe when Proud Boys and white supremacists are allowed to rampage openly through our streets,” local activist Legba Carrefour said in a statement the groups released.
“These fascist, racist, self-proclaimed “chauvinist” groups are building and mobilizing through these events. If history has shown us anything, it is that fascism grows when people do not show up and speak out.”
The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is aware of First Amendment activities planned for the weekend and intends to monitor and assess each activity and plan accordingly, said an MPD spokesperson.
D.C. has among the strictest gun laws in the country, and the MPD spokesperson noted that it is illegal to open carry a firearm in the District.
“We encourage anyone observing any illegal activity to notify MPD immediately,” said the MPD spokesperson, adding that suspicious activity of a non-emergency nature may be reported online as well.
Among the upcoming pro-Trump events is a “Jericho March” set to take place at different locations around the National Mall in the morning Saturday.
“Jericho March™ is comprised of Judeo-Christians collectively praying to God to intercede, expose a particular darkness and bring about justice,” according to its website.
Other events include a rally outside the Supreme Court featuring speakers including Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser and the recent recipient of a presidential pardon.
Another event, a “Let the Church ROAR!” prayer rally is also scheduled for later on the Mall with Mike Lindell, the founder and face of the My Pillow brand.
Mr. Lindell, a vocal supporter of Mr. Trump, has been sponsoring a multi-state bus tour set to end Saturday in D.C. with a march “to demand transparency and protect election integrity.”
Along with Mr. Flynn, they have each said they believe Mr. Trump defeated Mr. Biden despite the results of the White House race decisively showing the reverse. Inauguration Day is January 20.