President Donald Trump will address a gathering of supporters in Washington on Wednesday as he seeks to rally populist support for a last-ditch effort to overturn his loss to president-elect Joe Biden.
The White House confirmed on Tuesday Trump would speak on the Ellipse just south of the White House.
Protests are expected coincide with Wednesday’s congressional vote to certify Electoral College results Trump continues to dispute.
The rallies have local officials bracing for potentially violent street clashes.
With downtown DC businesses boarding up windows, Mayor Muriel Bowser has requested a limited National Guard deployment to help bolster police.
During a press conference on Monday, Bowser urged local area residents to stay away from downtown DC and avoid confrontations with anyone “looking for a fight”.
However 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 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 faction 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, MPD officers arrested the leader of the Proud Boys, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, 36, after he arrived in Washington ahead of this week’s protests.
Tarrio was accused of burning one of the Black Lives Matter banners in December.
Organizers planned to rally Tuesday evening at Freedom Plaza and again all day Wednesday on the Ellipse, including a 1 pm Wednesday march to the Capitol.
Expected attendees include high-level Trump supporters like Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Republican strategist Roger Stone, a longtime Trump devotee whose three-year prison sentence was commuted by Trump.
Stone was convicted of repeatedly lying to Congress during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.