The Metropolitan Police Department said Wednesday they are planning accordingly for members of the Proud Boys to potentially cause trouble when the group rallies in support of President Trump next week in Washington, D.C.
Proud Boys are expected to be among Trump supporters protesting next Wednesday in the District, where the group’s last big gathering weeks ago resulted in violence strongly condemned by local leadership afterward.
Several uniformed Proud Boys stole a “Black Lives Matter” sign from a local church and then set it on fire when hundreds of members descended on D.C. for the last big Trump rally on the night of Dec. 12.
Four people, including at least one leading Proud Boy, were stabbed that night as well during a melee outside Hotel Harrington and its bar, Harry’s, where the group had recently started congregating.
Despite the Proud Boys being widely denounced in the District following the group’s last big local gathering, its leader recently said the group will return in record numbers next week – and in disguise.
“We will not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow. We will be incognito and we will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams,” Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio said Tuesday on social media.
Another leading member of the Proud Boys known as Joe Biggs later shared a video on social media of him saying his group will be wearing all black to resemble anti-fascist activists known as Antifa.
In the video, which was later shared by Mr. Tarrio and others, he noted some Antifa activists shield their heads with helmets, adding that it “ain’t going to matter because we’re still going to f— you up.”
“We’re going to be blending it, weaving in and out like a mother f—ing old lady with some goddamn pins in her hands making a goddamn sweater,” he said while making punching motions with his fists.
The Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement it has a duty to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents, visitors and demonstrators who exercise their First Amendment rights.
“While MPD does not discuss operational tactics, as with any known, large demonstration, we will continue to monitor and assess each activity, and plan accordingly with our local and federal law enforcement partners,” the department told The Washington Times.
Mr. Trump has been urging his supporters to descend on D.C. next Wednesday, Jan. 6, when Congress meets in joint session to count the Electoral College votes affirming again his loss to President-elect Joseph R. Biden.
A traffic advisory detailing road closures in connection with the events will be announced beforehand, MPD told The Times.
District leaders denounced the Proud Boys earlier this month after its members were caught on camera stealing and setting fire to the “Black Lives Matter” banner stolen from Asbury United Methodist Church.
“To see those men burning a Black Lives Matter sign in the middle of the street that was taken from a Black church is reminiscent of violent acts of racism our country has seen before. And it is disgusting and vile and should be condemned by all Americans,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said after the incident. Her office did not immediately return a message seeking her reaction to the group returning next week.
Hotel Harrington said Monday it will be closed during next week’s pro-Trump protests out of concern for the health and safety of its employees and guests, meanwhile. Harry’s said it will be closed, too.
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