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DC mayor asks area residents to stay away from protesters ‘who come to our city seeking confrontation’

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Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on Sunday asked the area’s residents to stay away from protesters “who come to our city seeking confrontation” this week as officials prepare for planned demonstrations against Congress’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Bowser released a statement asking residents to avoid downtown D.C. on Tuesday and Wednesday, when pro-President Trump protests are planned.

“I am asking Washingtonians and those who live in the region to stay out of the downtown area on Tuesday and Wednesday and not to engage with demonstrators who come to our city seeking confrontation, and we will do what we must to ensure all who attend remain peaceful,” she said in her statement.

The mayor’s office issued a reminder on the capital’s gun laws, noting that protesters and others cannot carry a firearm within 1,000 feet of a demonstration and guns are illegal on U.S. Capitol and National Park Service grounds, including Freedom Plaza and the National Mall. 

Bowser’s administration also noted that D.C. outlaws open carry of firearms and does not offer reciprocity with other states’ concealed pistol licenses, so only those given a concealed license in D.C. can conceal their weapon. 

Bowser has instructed the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency to set up D.C.’s Emergency Operations Center starting on Monday to respond to the demonstrations. 

The city’s Metropolitan Police Department will have all staff reporting on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The city has previously announced several road closures and parking restrictions throughout the downtown area. 

Trump has posted several tweets encouraging his supporters to rally in D.C. on Jan. 6 to “StopTheSteal!”

Among those expected to protest this week are the far-right group the Proud Boys, whose chairman Enrique Tarrio announced they will be “incognito,” operating in smaller groups and dressing in “all BLACK” similar to anti-fascist groups and counterprotesters. 

At pro-Trump protests that the Proud Boys attended last month in the city, at least four people were stabbed and a church’s Black Lives Matter banner was burned. 

Several Republican House and Senate members have said they will challenge the Electoral College results, aiming to get enough support in Congress to send the matter to the mostly Republican state legislatures. 

But Congress is extremely unlikely to back the vote challenge as Democrats control the House and several Republican senators and party leaders have spoken out against the effort.

Tags 2020 election 2020 election results D.C. Donald Trump election certification Electoral College Electoral College challenge Firearms Guns Jan. 6 protests Joe Biden Muriel Bowser pro-Trump protests Washington D.C.

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