Bracing for possible violence, the nation's capital has mobilized the National Guard ahead of planned protests by President Trump's supporters in connection with the congressional vote to affirm Joe Biden's election victory. Trump's supporters are planning to rally Tuesday and Wednesday, seeking to bolster the president's unproven claims of widespread voter fraud. "There are people intent on coming to our city armed," Acting Police Chief Robert Contee said Monday, the AP reports. A pro-Trump rally in December ended in violence as hundreds of Trump supporters, wearing the signature black and yellow of the Proud Boys faction, sought out confrontations with a collective of local activists attempting to bar them from Black Lives Matter Plaza, an area near the White House.
Trump has encouraged the protests and hinted that he may get personally involved. Over the weekend, he retweeted a promotion for the rally with the message: "I will be there. Historic Day!" The protests will coincide with Wednesday's congressional vote expected to certify the Electoral College results, which Trump continues to dispute. Now with downtown DC businesses boarding up their windows, Mayor Muriel Bowser has requested a limited National Guard deployment to help bolster District police. Bowser asked Monday that area residents stay away from downtown and avoid confrontations with anyone who is "looking for a fight." But, she warned, "we will not allow people to incite violence, intimidate our residents, or cause destruction in our city." Some 340 DC National Guard members will be activated, with about 115 on duty in the streets at any given time, an official said. (The Proud Boys say they'll be there.)