Thousands of Trump supporters gather in front of White House for ‘Save America’ rally

At least 10 people were arrested for gun possession crimes and other violations and others were seen clashing with counter-demonstrators as thousands of Trump supporters lined up before dawn near the White House on Wednesday for a rally urging Congress not to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. 

Police in Washington, DC, arrested at least 10 people early on Wednesday morning, including two who were illegally carrying firearms without permits, according to The Washington Post

Trump was expected to address his supporters later in the morning during a rally on the Ellipse, just south of the White House.

Many in the crowd were photographed not wearing masks and gathered in tight quarters, shoulder to shoulder, despite the raging pandemic and the nationwide surge in the number of coronavirus cases. 

The National Park Service issued a permit expecting some 30,000 people to attend though official attendance figures aren’t expected until later on Wednesday. 

Trump was expected to address his supporters later in the morning during a rally on the Ellipse, just south of the White House

Trump was expected to address his supporters later in the morning during a rally on the Ellipse, just south of the White House

Trump was expected to address his supporters later in the morning during a rally on the Ellipse, just south of the White House

A massive crowd of supporters of President Trump wait on the National Mall outside a security perimeter for a rally to protest the expected certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory on Wednesday

A massive crowd of supporters of President Trump wait on the National Mall outside a security perimeter for a rally to protest the expected certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory on Wednesday

A massive crowd of supporters of President Trump wait on the National Mall outside a security perimeter for a rally to protest the expected certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory on Wednesday

A crowd of tens of thousands of Trump supporters waved banners and American flags before the start of the planned demonstration on Wednesday

A crowd of tens of thousands of Trump supporters waved banners and American flags before the start of the planned demonstration on Wednesday

A crowd of tens of thousands of Trump supporters waved banners and American flags before the start of the planned demonstration on Wednesday

United States Park Police are seen above arresting a man near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

United States Park Police are seen above arresting a man near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

United States Park Police are seen above arresting a man near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

Donald Trump Jr, the president’s eldest son, gave a rousing speech to his father’s supporters in which he called on Republican members of Congress to ‘be the hero and not the zero’ – or else he would work to unseat them by supporting an opponent in the primary.

‘If you’re gonna be the zero and not the hero, we’re coming for you and we’re going to have a good time doing it,’ Don Jr said on Wednesday.

‘I suggest you choose wisely.’ 

Lou Murray, a life insurance salesman from Boston, said he and many others still hoped Congress and Vice President Mike Pence would not certify the vote.

Two men clash after police arrested one person near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

Two men clash after police arrested one person near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

Two men clash after police arrested one person near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

US Park Police are seen above detaining a man near the Washington Monument on Wednesday morning

US Park Police are seen above detaining a man near the Washington Monument on Wednesday morning

US Park Police are seen above detaining a man near the Washington Monument on Wednesday morning

People bang and hit windows at the Washington Monument after police made an arrest on Wednesday

People bang and hit windows at the Washington Monument after police made an arrest on Wednesday

People bang and hit windows at the Washington Monument after police made an arrest on Wednesday

Donald Trump Jr, the president's eldest son, demanded that Republican Party lawmakers in Congress 'be the hero, not the zero' and refuse to certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory

Donald Trump Jr, the president's eldest son, demanded that Republican Party lawmakers in Congress 'be the hero, not the zero' and refuse to certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory

Donald Trump Jr, the president’s eldest son, demanded that Republican Party lawmakers in Congress ‘be the hero, not the zero’ and refuse to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory

Trump supporters braved cold temperatures in Washington, DC, on Wednesday hours before the start of planned demonstrations

Trump supporters braved cold temperatures in Washington, DC, on Wednesday hours before the start of planned demonstrations

Trump supporters braved cold temperatures in Washington, DC, on Wednesday hours before the start of planned demonstrations

Supporters of President Trump protest the results of the November 3 election in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Supporters of President Trump protest the results of the November 3 election in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Supporters of President Trump protest the results of the November 3 election in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

House Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, speaks on Wednesday at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the 'Save America Rally.' Brooks is one of the lawmakers leading the charge in Congress to dispute the Electoral College vote count

House Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, speaks on Wednesday at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the 'Save America Rally.' Brooks is one of the lawmakers leading the charge in Congress to dispute the Electoral College vote count

House Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, speaks on Wednesday at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the ‘Save America Rally.’ Brooks is one of the lawmakers leading the charge in Congress to dispute the Electoral College vote count

Trump supporters pray outside the US Capitol on Wednesday before Congress holds a joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's victory

Trump supporters pray outside the US Capitol on Wednesday before Congress holds a joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's victory

Trump supporters pray outside the US Capitol on Wednesday before Congress holds a joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory

‘I hope Vice President Pence has courage today and I hope any politician who thinks he has a future shows courage to stand up and do what’s right,’ Murray said.

About an hour before Trump was set to speak, there were massive, dense lines at security checkpoints near the White House. At the Lincoln Memorial, dozens of Trump supporters stood on the steps with large Trump flags.

Nirav Peterson, who flew in from Seattle to attend the rally, said there would be a groundswell of anger and activism if Trump doesn’t serve another term and said Republicans who don’t back him should face primary challenges.

‘People are angry. This isn’t going to go away,’ Peterson said as she took video of the large crowd gathered beyond the steel barriers at the foot of the Washington Monument.

‘You have a huge, huge portion of the people who aren’t going to take it anymore.’ 

Like many others, Peterson was not wearing a mask. She said she opposes the shutdowns prompted by the pandemic and doesn’t believe anyone has died from COVID-19.

More than 350,000 people have died from the virus in the US. 

Organizers planned an afternoon march to the Capitol, where Congress will be voting to affirm the Electoral College results, which Trump continues to dispute.

A number of prominent Trump supporters were expected to attend the protest events, which began Tuesday with a rally at Freedom Plaza near the White House. 

They include Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and longtime Trump ally Roger Stone, the recipient of a pardon by the president.

As temperatures dropped to the low 40s Tuesday night and a steady rain swept onto the streets, hundreds of protesters remained in Freedom Plaza. 

Jeremy LaPointe of Lumberton, Texas, holds a cross as he joins supporters of Trump gathered outside the US Capitol where Congress will meet to certify the electoral college vote for President-elect Joe Biden in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Jeremy LaPointe of Lumberton, Texas, holds a cross as he joins supporters of Trump gathered outside the US Capitol where Congress will meet to certify the electoral college vote for President-elect Joe Biden in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Jeremy LaPointe of Lumberton, Texas, holds a cross as he joins supporters of Trump gathered outside the US Capitol where Congress will meet to certify the electoral college vote for President-elect Joe Biden in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

A large crowd of Trump supporters started gathering outside of the White House for a rally on Wednesday

A large crowd of Trump supporters started gathering outside of the White House for a rally on Wednesday

A large crowd of Trump supporters started gathering outside of the White House for a rally on Wednesday

A stand is being erected at the base of the US Capitol as a pro-Trump supporter holds a flag, hours before Congress meets to certify the electoral college vote for President-elect Joe Biden in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

A stand is being erected at the base of the US Capitol as a pro-Trump supporter holds a flag, hours before Congress meets to certify the electoral college vote for President-elect Joe Biden in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

A stand is being erected at the base of the US Capitol as a pro-Trump supporter holds a flag, hours before Congress meets to certify the electoral college vote for President-elect Joe Biden in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Trump supporters lined up in the early morning hours of Wednesday on the Ellipse just outside of the White House

Trump supporters lined up in the early morning hours of Wednesday on the Ellipse just outside of the White House

Trump supporters lined up in the early morning hours of Wednesday on the Ellipse just outside of the White House

The United States Secret Service and other law enforcement officials are seen near a barricade separating them from the crowd of demonstrators

The United States Secret Service and other law enforcement officials are seen near a barricade separating them from the crowd of demonstrators

The United States Secret Service and other law enforcement officials are seen near a barricade separating them from the crowd of demonstrators

Trump supporters gather near the White House and watch the rally on a big screen set up nearby

Trump supporters gather near the White House and watch the rally on a big screen set up nearby

Trump supporters gather near the White House and watch the rally on a big screen set up nearby

A supporter of the president holds a sign that reads 'Voting ends on Election Day, not the day after!' in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

A supporter of the president holds a sign that reads 'Voting ends on Election Day, not the day after!' in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

A supporter of the president holds a sign that reads ‘Voting ends on Election Day, not the day after!’ in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Rallygoers in military style camo dress appear in Washington, DC, as law enforcement officials look on

Rallygoers in military style camo dress appear in Washington, DC, as law enforcement officials look on

Rallygoers in military style camo dress appear in Washington, DC, as law enforcement officials look on

Joseph Baker waits for a rally of Trump supporters on the Ellipse just outside of the White House on Wednesday

Joseph Baker waits for a rally of Trump supporters on the Ellipse just outside of the White House on Wednesday

Joseph Baker waits for a rally of Trump supporters on the Ellipse just outside of the White House on Wednesday

A Trump supporter dressed as the Statue of Liberty while chained in shackles is seen above near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

A Trump supporter dressed as the Statue of Liberty while chained in shackles is seen above near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

A Trump supporter dressed as the Statue of Liberty while chained in shackles is seen above near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

Supporters of President Trump brandish American flags and sport pro-Trump paraphernalia in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Supporters of President Trump brandish American flags and sport pro-Trump paraphernalia in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Supporters of President Trump brandish American flags and sport pro-Trump paraphernalia in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Trump supporters are seen above waiting for a rally near the White House. They are demanding that Congress refuse to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's victory

Trump supporters are seen above waiting for a rally near the White House. They are demanding that Congress refuse to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's victory

Trump supporters are seen above waiting for a rally near the White House. They are demanding that Congress refuse to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory

Trump supporters are seen above before the start of the 'Save America' rally in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Trump supporters are seen above before the start of the 'Save America' rally in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Trump supporters are seen above before the start of the ‘Save America’ rally in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

‘I’m just here to support the president,’ said David Wideman, a 45-year-old firefighter who traveled from Memphis, Tennessee.

Wideman acknowledged he was ‘confused’ by a string of losses from Trump’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.’

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 leftist militant groups that Trump has said he wants to declare a terrorist organization, should stay out of Washington.

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.

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.’

Election officials from both political parties, governors in key battleground states and Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have said there was no widespread fraud in the election.

Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two challenges rejected by the Supreme Court. 

A pro-Trump rally December 12 ended in violence as hundreds of Trump supporters, wearing the signature black and yellow of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, sought out confrontations with a collective of local activists attempting to bar them from Black Lives Matter Plaza, an area near the White House.

At least two local Black churches had Black Lives Matter banners torn down and set ablaze.

On Monday, police arrested the leader of the Proud Boys, Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio, 36, after he arrived in Washington before this week’s protests.

Tarrio was accused of burning one of the Black Lives Matter banners in December and was found with two high-capacity firearm magazines, police said.

A judge signed an order Tuesday banning Tarrio from entering the District of Columbia, with very limited exceptions related to his criminal case.

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.’

Trump supporters and members of the Proud Boys clashed with police in the nation’s capital on Tuesday night, one day before Congress is expected to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.

Police attempted to contain the crowd, who hurled abuse at the officers stationed in the streets, and accused them of failing to protect the constitution.

‘You lost both sides of support,’ yelled one man. ‘We had your f***ing back, but we ain’t got your back no more!’

Chants of ‘f*** Antifa’ broke out, and some recited the Pledge of Allegiance as they tried to break through the police lines. 

An injured Trump supporter is helped after a clash with counter-protesters on Tuesday

An injured Trump supporter is helped after a clash with counter-protesters on Tuesday

An injured Trump supporter is helped after a clash with counter-protesters on Tuesday

Police and protesters scuffled on the streets of Washington DC on Tuesday night

Police and protesters scuffled on the streets of Washington DC on Tuesday night

Police and protesters scuffled on the streets of Washington DC on Tuesday night

Trump fans braved the cold on Tuesday night to show their support for the president

Trump fans braved the cold on Tuesday night to show their support for the president

Trump fans braved the cold on Tuesday night to show their support for the president

A Trump supporter is seen recovering from being tear gassed as protests turned violent

A Trump supporter is seen recovering from being tear gassed as protests turned violent

A Trump supporter is seen recovering from being tear gassed as protests turned violent

Police set up cordons to try and separate Trump supporters from counter-protesters on Tuesday night

Police set up cordons to try and separate Trump supporters from counter-protesters on Tuesday night

Police set up cordons to try and separate Trump supporters from counter-protesters on Tuesday night

Crowds of Trump supporters gathered in Washington DC on Tuesday night

Crowds of Trump supporters gathered in Washington DC on Tuesday night

Crowds of Trump supporters gathered in Washington DC on Tuesday night

Earlier in the evening, protesters — many without masks — gathered in Freedom Plaza to decry the vote in the Electoral College.  

Roger Stone, the Republican operative pardoned by Trump in July, told the crowd Trump was ‘the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln’ because he had ‘freed this slave’.

Stone was convicted in November 2019 of lying under oath to lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

‘I have two things I want to conclude by saying,’ said Stone on Tuesday night. 

‘One. Roger Stone did nothing wrong. 

‘Two. Donald Trump is the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln because he freed this slave. 

‘We will not let him down, and he will not let America down.’ 

Roger Stone, the Republican operative pardoned by Trump, declared that Trump had freed 'this slave'

Roger Stone, the Republican operative pardoned by Trump, declared that Trump had freed 'this slave'

Roger Stone, the Republican operative pardoned by Trump, declared that Trump had freed ‘this slave’

Stone, convicted in November 2019 of lying to Congress about his dealings during the 2016 election, was a star speaker

Stone, convicted in November 2019 of lying to Congress about his dealings during the 2016 election, was a star speaker

Stone, convicted in November 2019 of lying to Congress about his dealings during the 2016 election, was a star speaker

MyPillow founder Mike Lindell addressed the crowd to promote conspiracy theories about how Democrats allegedly stuffed ballot boxes. 

He also alluded to the possibility of civil war if Trump’s loss is not reversed.

‘You need to pray for our vice president to look up to God and say, ‘I need to make a decision, Lord,’ and make the right decision for our country,’ Lindell said, alluding to Mike Pence’s role overseeing Wednesday’s Electoral College certification process. 

‘You don’t have a [civil] war when the other side didn’t win anything … they were trying to steal it from us.’ 

As temperatures dropped to the low 40s and a steady rain swept onto the streets, hundreds remained in the plaza into nightfall. 

Supporters of Donald Trump traveled to Washington DC on Tuesday night

Supporters of Donald Trump traveled to Washington DC on Tuesday night

Supporters of Donald Trump traveled to Washington DC on Tuesday night

Streets in the capital were closed ahead of the expected protests by Trump fans

Streets in the capital were closed ahead of the expected protests by Trump fans

Streets in the capital were closed ahead of the expected protests by Trump fans

A man is seen standing in front of the Washington Monument as Trump supporters protested

A man is seen standing in front of the Washington Monument as Trump supporters protested

A man is seen standing in front of the Washington Monument as Trump supporters protested

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 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.’

The president was expected to personally address his supporters in Washington on Wednesday during a rally on the Ellipse, just south of the White House. 

The protests coincide with Wednesday’s congressional vote expected to certify the Electoral College results, which Trump continues to dispute. 

WHO ARE THE PROUD BOYS?

Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes started the all-male Proud Boys in 2016. McInnes and the Proud Boys have described the group as a politically incorrect men’s club for ‘Western chauvinists’ and deny affiliations with far-right extremist groups that overtly espouse racist and anti-Semitic views.

The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Proud Boys as a hate group, saying that its members often spread ‘outright bigotry’ and ‘anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric’ over the internet, and have posted social media pictures of themselves with prominent Holocaust deniers, white nationalists and ‘known neo-Nazis.’

Current leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, marched in the infamous Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in 2017. 

McInnes filed a lawsuit against the SPLC in February, challenging the addition of his organization to a list of hate groups.

Proud Boys have been involved in a series of high-profile violent clashes at political events.

In New York City in October 2018, police arrested several Proud Boys members who brawled with anti-fascist protesters following a speech by McInnes at a Manhattan Republican club.

Proud Boys members also have frequently clashed with counterprotesters at rallies in California and Oregon.

 

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Proud Boys’ leaders have shared with their followers that they intend to attend the rally ‘incognito’ and wearing ‘ALL black.’

Tarrio revealed on Parler that ‘the Proud Boys will turn out in record numbers on Jan 6th but, this time, with a twist.’

He wrote: ‘We will not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow.’

The group’s standard uniform is black and yellow Fred Perry polo shirts, military armor, and MAGA hats.  

Tarrio wrote: ‘We will be incognito and we will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams.’

Joe Biggs, an organizer for the group, confirmed the alleged plans on his Parler account.    

The rallies had local officials and law enforcement bracing for potential violent street clashes.   

Election officials from both political parties, governors in key battleground states and Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have said there was no widespread fraud in the election. 

Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two challenges rejected by the Supreme Court.

A pro-Trump rally on December 12 ended in violence as hundreds of Trump supporters, wearing the signature black and yellow of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, sought out confrontations with a collective of local activists attempting to bar them from Black Lives Matter Plaza, an area near the White House. 

At least two local black churches had Black Lives Matter banners torn down and set ablaze. 

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.

‘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. 

A November pro-Trump rally drew about 15,000 participants. 

The December 12 rally drew smaller numbers, but a larger contingent of Proud Boys. 

Washington DC police were out in force ahead of the expected protest and counter-protest

Washington DC police were out in force ahead of the expected protest and counter-protest

Washington DC police were out in force ahead of the expected protest and counter-protest

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