Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump have descended on the nation’s capital to cheer his claims of election fraud before a congressional vote to affirm Joe Biden’s victory.
The major “Save America March” is scheduled just hours prior to Congress’ vote.
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And the President himself is tabbed to address his ardent supporters.
In addition to Trump, other guest speakers include Roger Stone (who was recently pardoned by Trump), his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and former Fox News stars Diamond and Silk.
As for the commander-in-chief, he’s scheduled to speak at 11 a.m.
You can watch a livestream of the event below:
But the protest has been ongoing since Tuesday.
Just blocks from the White House, protesters gathered in Freedom Plaza to decry the vote in the Electoral College. As temperatures dropped to the low 40s and a steady rain swept onto the streets, hundreds remained in the plaza into nightfall.
“I’m just here to support the president,” said David Wideman, a 45-year-old firefighter who traveled from Memphis, Tennessee.
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Wideman acknowledged he was “confused” by a string of losses from the president’s legal team in their attempt to overturn the results of the election and didn’t know what options Trump had left.
“I not sure what he can do at this point, but I want to hear what he has to say,” Wideman said.
Trump tweeted his support for the protesters: “Washington is being inundated with people who don’t want to see an election victory stolen by emboldened Radical Left Democrats. Our Country has had enough, they won’t take it anymore! We hear you (and love you) from the Oval Office. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
The speakers there included former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, whom the president pardoned after he was twice convicted of lying to the FBI in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“We stand at a crucible moment in United States history,” Flynn told the crowd. “This country is awake now.”
In a Tuesday evening tweet, Trump called on Democrats and fellow Republicans to look at the “thousands of people pouring into D.C.” In another tweet, he warned that antifa, the umbrella term for far-left militant groups that Trump has said he wants to declare a terrorist organization, should stay out of Washington.
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The rallies had local officials and law enforcement bracing for potential violent street clashes. Many businesses in downtown Washington boarded up their windows, fearful that the protest could devolve into the unrest seen in May and June when dozens of businesses were vandalized.
Officials said there were six arrests by Tuesday night for a variety of offenses including weapons and ammunition possession, assaulting a police officer, simple assault and possessing a stun gun.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser called in National Guard troops to help bolster the city’s police force. She urged residents to stay away from downtown Washington and to 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.”
In addition to the National Guard, federal agents were on standby, in case they were quickly needed in the city this week.
The federal Bureau of Prisons said about 100 “specially trained officers” were sent to the Justice Department headquarters to assist other security personnel but would remain “in a reserve capacity unless needed.”
The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, said that unlike during the unrest in May and June in Washington, it did not plan to deploy agents from Customs and Border Protection to the demonstration Wednesday.
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“Right now, we have not been asked to deploy. However, we have a modest quick reaction force that will be on standby just in case our assistance is requested,” the agency’s acting commissioner, Mark Morgan, said.
Organizers rallied into the night on Tuesday and again all day on Wednesday on the Ellipse. An afternoon march was also planned to the U.S. Capitol, where Congress will be voting to affirm the election results. A number of prominent Trump supporters were expected to attend, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and longtime Trump ally Roger Stone, the recipient of a pardon by the president.
The Associated Press contributed to this article