WASHINGTON — As many as 30,000 of President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters are expected to descend on the nation’s capital today for what may be the most intense protests yet as Congress prepares to formally declare Joe Biden president-elect.
Conservative social media pages are promoting at least four rallies. The National Park Service received multipl permit applications for protests intended to pressure Republican lawmakers into joining the doomed effort to overturn Biden’s electoral victory.
As protesters gather in the streets, legislators will count the Electoral College votes during a special joint session of Congress — 306 for Biden, 232 for Trump. It takes 270 to win the presidency. Follow live updates from inside Congress here.
Trump has unsuccessfully tried to overturn election results in six battleground states through dozens of failed lawsuits, falsely claiming the election was stolen despite no evidence of widespread fraud. Although several Republican legislators have indicated they will object to the certification of electoral votes for Biden, the effort lacks the votes needed to overturn the results.
Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates from the protests. Here’s what you need to know:
- The biggest rally will begin at 9 a.m. EST at the Ellipse, near the White House, according to a permit granted to Women for America First, a conservative group that helped organize similar protests in recent months that drew thousands.
- Trump has promoted the Jan. 6 protests, tweetingmultipletimes about the events over the holidays. He said he will speak on the Ellipse around 11 a.m.
- Members of the “Proud Boys,” designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, are expected to attend. Enrique Tarrio, a leader of the group, suggested they will be incognito. He was arrested Monday after arriving in D.C., on charges related to the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner at a protest last year. Tarrio pleaded not guilty to destruction of property and weapons charges and was released – but ordered to stay out of D.C. until his next court appearance in June.
Six arrested Tuesday night as Trump supporters began to gather
Crowds of President Donald Trump’s supporters began gathering Tuesday in Washington, and police D.C. police announced six protest-related arrests.
The Metropolitan Police Department detained three men and two women on charges ranging from carrying a pistol without a license to assault of a police officer, according to a spokesman. The U.S. Park Police also made one arrest, the spokesman said.
Hundreds of people had gathered during the day on Freedom Plaza near the White House, many waving Trump and American flags. Vendors ringing the plaza sold flag-themed hats and shirts emblazoned with sayings from “Stop the steal” to “Trump is my president.”
– Ryan W. Miller and Trevor Hughes
DC officials warn of violence, extremists groups
Protests are likely to attract conspiracy theorists, militia groups and members of the extremist group the Proud Boys, raising concerns of violent confrontations.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Sunday federal and local law enforcement are preparing for the demonstrations and urged residents to stay away from the area. National Guard troops will support local police officers and Bowser said she is evaluating whether a curfew is necessary to quell violence, according to local media reports.
“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,” Bowser said in a statement. “And we will do what we must to ensure all who attend remain peaceful.”
When the Proud Boys protested in Washington, D.C., last month, violent scuffles broke out between protesters, counterprotesters and police. At least 23 people were arrested.
– Will Carless
Counting Electoral College votes: What’s happening in Congress today
Congress’ count of the Electoral College, a normally symbolic affair affirming the president-elect’s victory, is set to be a contentious, lengthy process when the House and Senate convene in a joint session to count the electoral votes on Wednesday.
In an effort that has divided the Republican Party, over a dozen Senate Republicans and at least 50 House Republicans are set to object to the counting of electoral votes from states that Trump contested after Election Day. No Democrats are expected to object to the results.
Trump has urged Republican lawmakers to join the objections, but the effort is unlikely to succeed because a majority of both the House and Senate is needed to exclude any electoral votes.
Congress is set to meet on Wednesday at 1 p.m. EST as protesters descend on Washington. Read more here about the procedures and what to expect.
– Nicholas Wu and Camille Caldera
More from USA TODAY: