Yesterday, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser requested for National Guard help in anticipation of massive protests centered on the Electoral College vote happening on January 6. The district expects thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters to converge at the nation’s capital this week. The timing of the “big protest rally” as termed by Trump, coincides with the 11 am session of Congress.
Department of Defense Request
Bowser sent out a Department of Defense request on December 31 for National Guard help. From January 5 to 7, DC National Guard members will help manage the crowd. Also, they will assist in traffic control and other tasks. However, they will not carry arms or wear body armor.
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An anonymous DoD official said that “There will be about 115 Guard troops on duty at any one time in the city.” Guard members will help set up traffic control points around the city. Also, they will stand with district police officers at all the city’s Metro stops. Acting Police Chief Robert Contee said Guard troops will also handle crowd management.
Special Session in Congress
The special Electoral College session is mostly ceremonial. During this time, the Vice President will count and certify electoral votes submitted by the states. The winning candidate will need 207 votes to secure the majority to win the elections. Based on certified election results, Democrat Joe Biden won the presidential elections. He won via a vote count of 306-232.
Meanwhile, some Republican House and Senate members plan to object to the certification. Trump supporters insist that Biden only won the election because of vote fraud. However, protesters have yet to show proof that cheating occurred on a scale that changed the outcome. However, this did not stop Republican supporters from continuing to reject election results. In fact, several Republican members of Congress said they will object to Biden’s certification. Then, they will push for a 10-day “speed audit” to check results in disputed battleground states.
Proud Boys Leader Arrested
Meanwhile, officials tried to head off more trouble by arresting a pro-Trump organizer. On Monday, DC police arrested the leader of the far-right Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, as he arrived in the city on a commercial flight. Police have an arrest warrant for Tarrio on charges of destruction of property. These charges stemmed from the violence that erupted during the pro-President Trump demonstrations last month. If found guilty, he faces up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Police think that the Miami, Florida-based Tarrio entered the city to take part in this week’s protests. He carried with him two high-capacity firearm magazines, which led to additional charges of possession of high-capacity feeding devices. During the December protests, Tarrio burned a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a historic Black church.
Heading Off Violence
Over the summer, Washington DC joined other major US cities in hosting protests that often turned violent. Then, in December, Trump supporters clashed with Antifa members in a violent confrontation. Consequently, the riots resulted in two wounded police officers, four stab victims, 10 charges, and 23 arrests. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail this time. Protesting a legitimate gripe is an American right, and violence does not figure out in resolving issues.
Watch the ABC News reports on Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser mobilizes National Guard to police massive Gatherings of Trump supporters:
Do you agree that the Electoral College certification will usher in violent protests? Or do you foresee a peaceful exercise of assembly in protesting what Trump supporters see as a fraudulent win? Let us know what you think by leaving your comments below.