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Trump supporters show up to DC for election protest

Supporters of President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE descended on Washington, D.C., on Tuesday ahead of planned protests against Congress's expected certification of the Electoral College results.

Demonstrators gathered in the nation's capital ahead of a joint session of Congress on Wednesday to certify President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE's 306-232 electoral win over Trump.

The usually calm, quadrennial affair of certifying the electoral vote has drawn major attention this year as Trump presses GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate to object to the results in several battleground states.

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Trump has rallied his supporters with evidence-challenged claims that widespread voter fraud and irregularities cost him a second term in office, and demonstrators Wednesday are expected to rally around the mantra of “Stop the Steal.”

The president is also expected to make an appearance at 11 a.m. Wednesday to rally supporters in person, tweeting that he's anticipating “BIG CROWDS.”

Permits were approved for Women For America First's “March for Trump” at the Ellipse on Wednesday, for the Eighty Percent Coalition's “Rally for Revival” in Freedom Plaza on Tuesday and for The Silent Majority's protest on the National Mall on Tuesday and Wednesday.

District officials are bracing for potentially violent clashes between Trump’s supporters and counterprotesters, with Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserOvernight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers Bipartisan Senate bill introduced to give gyms B in relief Maryland to lift remaining COVID capacity restrictions MORE (D) activating the National Guard to support law enforcement during the demonstrations.

Authorities are eager to avoid the kind of violence that has surrounded other past pro-Trump demonstrations. Members of the Proud Boys, a prominent far-right group, nearly clashed in December with counterprotesters before being cut off by law enforcement. But later in the night, four people were stabbed near a bar known to be frequented by the far-right group.

Members of the Proud Boys are anticipated to attend this week’s rallies “incognito” by splitting into smaller groups and avoiding their typical black and yellow outfits that make them more easily identifiable. The leader of the group, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested ahead of the protests on a destruction of property charge related to demonstrations last month.

Bowser on Sunday urged the city’s residents to avoid protesters “who come to our city seeking confrontation.” 

“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 a statement.