With fears of MAGA demonstrators inciting violence during this week’s “March for Trump” protests, D.C.’s National Guard has been activated at Mayor Muriel Bowser’s request. The mayor has urged city residents to stay away from the downtown area while Trump supporters and far-right groups voice their displeasure with reality.
“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 tweeted on Sunday.
During a press conference on Monday, Acting Police Chief Robert Contee said he has reason to believe some of the protesters will be armed.
“We have received some information that there are individuals intent on bringing firearms into our city. That just will not be tolerated,” the chief said.
According to the AP, 340 National Guard troops will be activated and will work with local law enforcement but will not be armed or wearing body armor.
Bowser pled with those opposed to the protests to avoid engaging “with demonstrators who come to our city seeking confrontation.” But she added, “We will not allow people to incite violence, intimidate our residents or cause destruction in our city.”
As for the president, regardless that the last election-denier protest in Washington saw at least four people stabbed, Trump is pumping the events, claiming that he will attend while also tweeting out an organizer’s promotional video.
I will be there. Historic day! https://t.co/k6LStsWpfy
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2021
Councilmember Charles Allen said the city is expecting big crowds because of Trump’s involvement.
“There is a general consensus that there will be significant turnout,” Allen said, “When you’ve got the president openly fomenting these events, and based on the intelligence as well as hotel occupancy, all indications are pointing to a higher turnout.”
No guns allowed signage will be posted downtown by D.C.’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency and, according to NPR, Bowser is asking residents to report suspicious activity, threats or emergencies by calling 911.