Thousands of people are expected to be in D.C. to protest the 2020 election on Jan. 6, the day Congress meets to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the election.
Multiple groups have applied for permits for First Amendment activity on that day, and President Donald Trump has called on supporters to descend on D.C. for a "wild" protest.
Organizations planning demonstrations at Freedom Plaza include Women for America First, which filed a permit for 5,000 attendees, and the Eighty Percent Coalition, which estimates 10,000. The Silent Majority said it expects 250-500 to demonstrate near the Washington Monument.
Given the recent violent clashes that have erupted at previous election-related protests, some local businesses are preparing for the worst.
The Hotel Harrington and Harry’s Bar, two spots known to be frequented by a far-right group, the Proud Boys, announced they’ll close for part of next week.
In a statement, the hotel said: “While we cannot control what happens outside of the hotel we are taking additional steps to protect the safety of our visitors guests and employees….We will not be accommodating guests, with the exception of our long-term residents who call our hotel home.”
Some D.C. residents, like Karen Jennings, who are concerned about the potential for unrest, say the bar and hotel made the right decision.
"They don’t want the bad publicity because they have to be here when those guys leave in two or three days," she said.
The leader of the Proud Boys says the bar and hotel are not meetup spots for the group, which still plans to fan out across the District next week.
Earlier this month, members of the group clashed with anti-fascist protestors and stole a Black Lives Matter sign from a church before burning it.
Despite chatter on far-right social media sites calling for violence, the Metropolitan Police Department told News4: "While MPD does not discuss operational tactics, as with any known, large demonstration, we will continue to monitor and assess each activity. While we are not aware of any credible threats across Washington, D.C., we urge our community to report any suspicious behavior or online postings to the proper authorities."
Several downtown hotels tell News4 they’re aware that they’ve been mentioned as alternative places to stay and are implementing security and safety plans, but none said they would be closing.
The District plans to release information security measures in the following days.
D.C. police released a list of road closures and parking restrictions; the full list is available online here.
Black Lives Matter DC issued a statement calling on the mayor, MPD and local hotels and businesses, saying “Tell the racists that they’re not welcome in our city!”
Local activists said they have been placing calls to downtown hotel tells asking them not to rent rooms to the Proud Boys.