Thousands of People Expected at ‘Save America March’ on Second Day of DC Rallies

Thousands of people supporting President Donald Trump remained in the nation’s capital on Wednesday to rally against the Electoral College results and alleged election fraud.

Trump announced on Twitter he is personally going to address supporters during the rally dubbed “Save America”—an event organized by “Women for America First,” a pro-Trump group—on the Ellipse, a park located south of the White House.

“I will be speaking at the SAVE AMERICA RALLY tomorrow on the Ellipse at 11 a.m. Eastern,” the president wrote. “Arrive early—doors open at 7 a.m. Eastern. BIG CROWDS!”

According to a permit issued by the National Park Service, the event allows up to 30,000 people to gather on the Ellipse until Jan. 8, though official attendance figures won’t be known until later on Wednesday.

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People attend a rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, in support of President Donald Trump. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)
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People wait to hear speakers on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the “Save America March.” (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)

Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police warned local residents ahead of time for the rallies starting Tuesday through Thursday in a Dec. 31 statement, announcing that many streets will potentially be closed and parking restricted.

The multi-day 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 unrest.

Most of the demonstrators gathered just blocks from the White House in Freedom Plaza during Tuesday’s rally 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.

Trump on Tuesday warned Antifa radicals, who have been designated as a terrorist organization, to “stay out of Washington,” adding that “law enforcement is watching you very closely!”

Robert Contee, who was sworn in by District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser as Acting Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department on Jan. 2, has said prior to the demonstrations that guns won’t be tolerated in the capital.

“We have received some information that there are individuals intent on bringing firearms into our city and that’s just—just will not be tolerated,” Contee said.

Police said during Tuesday night’s rally, at least six people were taken into custody following clashes with counter-demonstrators and police. Those arrested have been accused of a variety of offenses including weapons and ammunition possession, assaulting a police officer, simple assault, and possessing a stun gun.

In mid-December, violent confrontations between alleged members of the Antifa group and members of the Proud Boys erupted during the “Million MAGA March” in Washington, leading to at least four people getting stabbed and police officers injured. Both groups have regularly attracted media attention for being involved in violent encounters with one another.

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Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump participate in the Million MAGA March to protest the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in Washington, on Dec. 12, 2020. (Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images)

Bowser has urged residents to stay away from downtown Washington and to avoid confrontations with anyone who is “looking for a fight.” She also called in National Guard troops to help bolster the city’s police force.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.