D.C. prepares for MAGA marchers

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D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said the National Guard will be working with MPD and emergency services for the Jan. 6 MAGA March. (Courtesy Photo)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
mgreen@afro.com

Congress plans to meet on Jan. 6 and count the electoral college votes- 306 Biden, 232 Trump- to confirm Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris as the next President and Vice President of the United States.  However for Donald Trump, Make America Great Again (MAGA) marchers and organizations like the Proud Boys, the first Wednesday in January is the day for a last ditch effort to convince the powers that be that the 45th President did not lose in the November general election. In her first official press conference of the year, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and city leadership discussed plans to prepare for the MAGA Marchers.

“I want to be clear, we know in Washington, as our nation’s capital, we have a lot of experience with people coming here to protest and directly greet the federal government and we expect that activity this week as well and we are urging D.C. residents, people from around the region to avoid the downtown area and especially avoid people who are coming here to look for confrontations, particularly physical confrontations,” Mayor Bowser said on Jan. 4.

If the November 2020 march is any indication of how these MAGA Marchers are coming in protest to their leader’s political demise, there will be racism, there will be weapons, there will be division- and a much smaller turnout than certain conservative publications might report.  Further, November’s march left anti-MAGA protestors face-to-face with many unmasked, racists who tore down signage pro-Black Lives, Biden, Harris and against Trump.  Some protestors standing up to MAGA supporters and Trump’s racist rhetoric were arrested. 

“I’m disgusted that they were even approved to hold their rally, freedom of speech aside.  These people have made their agenda very clear, and that is to invoke fear and violence on minority groups,” educator Hilary Daniel told the {AFRO} in November 2020.  “I’m even more appalled that some of the residents of this city who were attacked by some of these unwanted visitors were reprimanded and detained by our local law enforcement.”

This time around, Bowser is emphatically encouraging D.C. residents to avoid downtown.

“So we’re asking you to avoid the area that we are setting up a traffic box around on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6.  Course people are allowed to come to our city to participate in First Amendment activities and they will be mindful of the laws of the District of Columbia.  We will not allow people to insight violence, intimidate our residents, or cause destruction in our city,” Bowser said. “The best way to do that is to avoid the area,” the Mayor added passionately.

A Black Trump supporter at the November Million MAGA March taken on social media. (Courtesy Photo)

Bowser brought Christopher Rodriguez, director of D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Robert Contee to further layout the city’s public safety plans during the MAGA demonstrations. 

“Over the last week or so, we have as a District government, under the Mayor’s direction, been coordinating with the Federal government with our Federal partners that are here today, particularly the Park Police, and making sure that we are sharing information.  We are mobilizing all of our efforts to ensure safe and secure First Amendment demonstrations,” Rodriguez said.

“We initiated the placing of signage throughout the downtown area, specifically the demonstration area- just notifying the public that firearms are not permitted.  I repeat, firearms are not permitted,” Chief Contee emphasized. “In the demonstration area, there are signs that are posted.  Anyone in violation of those signs, anyone in violation of District of Columbia law, will be arrested.  So I want to be very clear about that because we have received information there are individuals intent on bringing firearms into our city, and that just will not be tolerated.”  

Contee also said that, under direction from the Mayor, MPD will be working with the National Guard. 

“We have received confirmation that the D.C. National Guard will be assisting the Metropolitan Police Department beginning tomorrow [Jan. 5] through the life cycle of this event, the MPD Chief said before explaining the National Guard’s duties.  “They will be deployed to assist us with crowd management as well as traffic control in our nation’s capital.  That will allow for our police officers to focus on anyone whose intent on instigating, agitating or participating in violence in our city- again unacceptable- and we will not tolerate that.”

One Facebook user watching the Mayor’s live press conference wrote, “CHRISTIANS ARE COMING,” in regards to the MAGA Marchers. Another supporter of the current President wrote, “The truth will win.  Trump 2021.”

Others are disappointed in the Mayor’s allowing of the First Amendment demonstration and those supporting Trump.

“So y’all really okay with the fact that Trump is promoting violence,” one Facebook user questioned during the Mayor’s press conference.  How embarrassing to still support this seditious president, especially after this tape.  How weak of mind and moral fortitude,” another Facebook user wrote in regards to the President’s leaked tapes asking Georgia’s Secretary of State to ‘find’ him votes.