The Jan. 6 rally has been encouraged by President Donald Trump to oppose Congress certifying the presidential election for President-elect Joe Biden.
Local officials in Washington D.C are encouraging counter protestors and residents to stay away from downtown on Wednesday, when radical, far-right groups plan to hold another violent demonstration.
The Proud Boys, one of the radical groups involved in the demonstration, released plans to head to the capitol to protest Congress certifying the Electoral College vote. Leaders within the Proud Boys have been explicit, their goal is to incite violence and cause destruction. Lawmakers will meet on Jan. 6 to count and certify the Electoral College votes from each state which is the final step before Inauguration Day.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said the district is preparing for the event and coordinating with local and federal law enforcement departments, faith leaders, and the local business community to keep the demonstrations peaceful.
Bowser also made the unusual move of asking residents to stay away from the protest.
“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 on Jan. 3.
In addition to coordination between agencies, many major roads around the capitol will be closed to traffic and parking.
Bowser also reminded the community that DC law prohibits anyone from carrying a firearm within 1,000 feet of any demonstration.
“Additionally, members of the public are reminded that the District of Columbia does not have reciprocity with other states’ concealed pistol licenses,” she said. It is also illegal to open carry a firearm in the District.
DC is familiar with clashes between radical, far-right groups and counterprotesters. Just last month, pro-Trump rallies in downtown DC led to stabbings, property destruction, and a shooting.
Leaders of the Proud Boys also say some members of their group plan to dress in all black, like many Anifa counterprotestors, to blend in and spread greater chaos.
“We will be incognito and we will spread across downtown D.C in smaller teams,” said Enrique Tarrio, the Proud Boys’ chairman. The group typically wears black and yellow Fred Perry polo shirts, military armor, and MAGA hats.
In a video, Tarrio promised that it will be difficult to distinguish Proud Boys from members of Antifa.
“We will be blending in as one of you. You won’t see us. You’ll even think we are you. We are going to smell like you, move like you, and look like you. The only thing we’ll do that’s us is think like us! Jan 6th is gonna be epic,” he said.
Leaders from the Proud Boys and President Donald Trump himself have promised the rally will be very large. The president announced on Twitter that he will attend the demonstrations.