This story was published at 10:33 a.m. Wednesday, prior to the storming of the Capitol by insurrectionists. There are protests throughout downtown Wednesday in the District as Congress votes to certify the Electoral College vote. Tens of thousands of protesters lined up early Wednesday morning to attend the first of many protests in support of outgoing President Donald Trump, lining up to attend the “March for Trump” on the Ellipse well before the event was scheduled to open at 7 a.m.
Congress meets Wednesday to certify the Electoral College vote, which was 306-232 in favor of Biden. Supporters have refered to the vote as “fraudulant”; the website for the event argues that “Democrats are scheming to disenfranchise and nullify Republican votes.” There is no evidence for these claims, and multiple Republican challenges to election results in court have been dismissed.
Permits have been issued by the National Park Service (NPS) for several events, most of which are held on federal (rather than District) land. Where are they, and who is organizing them?
TRAFFIC ADVISORY: First Amendment Activity
From Jan 5th to Jan 7th, 2021, First Amendment demonstrations are scheduled to occur in DC. There will be parking restrictions & potential street closures that motorists should take into consideration.
— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) January 6, 2021
According to freedomrally2021, a website providing a “MAGA Rally Map Guide” and info on events this week, at least four events will be held in DC Wednesday. The “March for Trump” is the main one, centered on the Ellipse and the National Mall, with tens of thousands of people already attending by 9 a.m. Trump is supposed to speak at 11 a.m.
Three additional protests are centered on the Capital. The “Wild Protest” and “Freedom Rally” are both set to begin at 10 a.m. A third, the “Jericho March” will proceed around the capitol starting at 11:45.
Moms for America will meet across from the Supreme Court Building at 1 p.m. for a “Save the Republic Rally” with members of Congress as speakers on the agenda. At 2 p.m. near the east lawn of the Capital, Virginia Women for Trump will hold a “One Nation Under God” rally that is supposed to feature Roger Stone.
On the other side of the Mall, at 3 p.m., “Prayer Walk DC” will meet at the Lincoln Memorial to pray and then walk around the reflecting pool.
Roger Stone is proud to be talking about health Freedom and the fight to save America at the MAGA Freedom Rally Jan 6 #MAGAFreedomRally #FreedomRally2021 #LivingInTheAgeOfStone #SaveAmerica pic.twitter.com/hPrqHwBdIe
— TheAgeOfStone 🇺🇸 (@TheAgeOfStone) January 3, 2021
Mayor Muriel Bowser, members of DC Council and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officials urged residents not to counterprotest and to avoid downtown DC Wednesday.
We’re asking D.C. residents and people who live in the region to avoid confrontations with anybody who’s looking for a fight,” Bowser said Monday during the situational update. “And the best way to do that is to avoid the area.”
Bowser called on the DC National Guard to support MPD officers during the protests, but their, Commander Major General William J. Walker, told NBC that guardsmen would be unarmed, largely providing crowd-control services and freeing officers up for law enforcement roles.
While there were rumors that protesters might congregate at Lincoln Park, it was quiet as of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.