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Thousands of Trump supporters gather in front of the White House for the "Save America" ​​rally


As Congress prepared to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people lined up before sunrise on Wednesday to demonstrate their support for President Donald Trump and his unfounded allegations of electoral fraud.

Trump was due to address his supporters later that morning during a rally on the ellipse south of the White House.

Many in the crowd were photographed without masks and gathered shoulder to shoulder in narrow spaces despite the raging pandemic and the spike in coronavirus cases nationwide.

The National Park Service gave permission for around 30,000 people to attend, although official attendance numbers are not expected until later on Wednesday.

Trump was due to address his supporters later that morning during a rally on the ellipse south of the White House

A large crowd of President Trump supporters wait outside a security area on the National Mall for a rally to protest the expected confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden's victory on Wednesday

A large crowd of President Trump supporters wait outside a security area on the National Mall for a rally to protest the expected confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden's victory on Wednesday

A crowd of tens of thousands of Trump supporters waved banners and American flags ahead of the scheduled demonstration on Wednesday

A crowd of tens of thousands of Trump supporters waved banners and American flags ahead of the scheduled demonstration on Wednesday

The United States Park Police arrested a man near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

The United States Park Police arrested a man near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

Donald Trump Jr., the President's eldest son, delivered a rousing speech to his father's supporters, urging Republican Congressmen to "be the hero, not the zero" – or he would work to oust them by he supported an opponent the primary.

"If you want to be the zero and not the hero, we'll come for you and we'll have a good time with it," Don Jr. said on Wednesday.

"I suggest you choose wisely."

Lou Murray, a Boston life insurance salesman, said he and many others were still hoping Congress and Vice President Mike Pence wouldn't approve the vote.

Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, has called for Republican Party lawmakers in Congress to be "the hero, not the zero" and refuse to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory

Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, has called for Republican Party lawmakers in Congress to be "the hero, not the zero" and refuse to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory

Trump supporters brave the cold temperatures in Washington, DC on Wednesday hours before the scheduled demonstrations begin

Trump supporters brave the cold temperatures in Washington, DC on Wednesday hours before the scheduled demonstrations begin

Supporters of President Trump protest the November 3 election results in Washington, DC on Wednesday

Supporters of President Trump protest the November 3 election results in Washington, DC on Wednesday

House Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, speaks at a rally in support of President Donald Trump's "Save America Rally" on Wednesday. Brooks is one of the lawmakers charged in Congress with contesting the electoral college's vote

House Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, speaks at a rally in support of President Donald Trump's "Save America Rally" on Wednesday. Brooks is one of the lawmakers charged in Congress with contesting the electoral college's vote

Trump supporters pray outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday before Congress holds a joint session to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory

Trump supporters pray outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday before Congress holds a joint session to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory

"I hope Vice President Pence has courage today, and I hope that any politician who believes they have a future will show courage to stand up and do the right thing," said Murray.

Organizers planned an afternoon march to the Capitol where Congress will vote to confirm the electoral college findings, which Trump continues to deny.

A number of prominent Trump supporters were due to attend the protests, which began Tuesday with a rally in Freedom Plaza, near the White House.

These include Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and longtime Trump ally Roger Stone, who has been pardoned by the President.

As temperatures plummeted to the low 40s on Tuesday evening and steady rain swept the streets, hundreds of protesters stayed in Freedom Plaza.

Jeremy LaPointe of Lumberton, Texas holds a cross as he joins Trump's supporters who have gathered outside the U.S. Capitol where Congress will meet in Washington, DC on Wednesday to vote on the election of the electoral college for to confirm President-elect Joe Biden

Jeremy LaPointe of Lumberton, Texas holds a cross as he joins Trump's supporters who have gathered outside the U.S. Capitol where Congress will meet in Washington, DC on Wednesday to vote on the election of the electoral college for to confirm President-elect Joe Biden

A large crowd of Trump supporters gathered outside the White House for a rally on Wednesday

A large crowd of Trump supporters gathered outside the White House for a rally on Wednesday

A booth will be erected at the foot of the U.S. Capitol with a pro-Trump supporter holding a flag hours before Congress meets for the election of the electoral college for President-elect Joe Biden on January 6, 2021 in Washington, United States , to confirm. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

A booth will be erected at the foot of the U.S. Capitol with a pro-Trump supporter holding a flag hours before Congress meets for the election of the electoral college for President-elect Joe Biden on January 6, 2021 in Washington, United States , to confirm. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

Trump supporters lined up on the ellipse in front of the White House in the early hours of Wednesday

Trump supporters lined up on the ellipse in front of the White House in the early hours of Wednesday

United States Intelligence and other police officers can be seen near a barricade that separates them from the crowd of protesters

United States Intelligence and other police officers can be seen near a barricade that separates them from the crowd of protesters

Trump supporters gather near the White House and watch the rally on a large screen nearby

Trump supporters gather near the White House and watch the rally on a large screen nearby

A supporter of the President holds a sign that reads "Voting ends on election day, not the day after!". on Wednesday in Washington, DC

A supporter of the President holds a sign that reads "Voting ends on election day, not the day after!". on Wednesday in Washington, DC

Rally goers in military camouflage clothing appear in Washington, DC while police officers watch

Rally goers in military camouflage clothing appear in Washington, DC while police officers watch

Joseph Baker awaits a rally of Trump supporters on the ellipse in front of the White House on Wednesday

Joseph Baker awaits a rally of Trump supporters on the ellipse in front of the White House on Wednesday

A Trump supporter, disguised as a Statue of Liberty and shackled, can be seen near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

A Trump supporter, disguised as a Statue of Liberty and shackled, can be seen near the Washington Monument on Wednesday

Supporters of President Trump wave American flags and sports pro-Trump paraphernalia in Washington, DC on Wednesday

Supporters of President Trump wave American flags and sports pro-Trump paraphernalia in Washington, DC on Wednesday

Trump supporters wait upstairs for a rally near the White House. They are demanding that Congress refuse to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's victory

Trump supporters wait upstairs for a rally near the White House. They are demanding that Congress refuse to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's victory

Trump supporters are seen upstairs ahead of the Save America rally starts in Washington, DC on Wednesday

Trump supporters are seen upstairs ahead of the Save America rally starts in Washington, DC on Wednesday

"I'm only here to support the president," said David Wideman, a 45-year-old firefighter who had traveled from Memphis, Tennessee.

Wideman admitted that he was "confused" by a series of losses to Trump's legal team while attempting to reverse the election results and was unsure of Trump's remaining options.

"I'm not sure what he can do now, but I want to hear what he has to say," Wideman said.

Trump tweeted his support for the protesters: “Washington is inundated with people who do not want an election victory stolen from emboldened radical left Democrats. Our country has had enough, they will not take it anymore! We hear you (and love you) from the Oval Office. & # 39;

In a tweet on Tuesday evening, Trump urged Democrats and Republicans to watch the "thousands of people flocking to DC".

In another tweet, he warned that Antifa, the umbrella term for left-wing militant groups that Trump said he wanted to declare a terrorist organization, should stay out of Washington.

At the rallies, local officials and law enforcement agencies prepared for possible violent clashes on the street.

Many downtown Washington businesses have boarded their windows fearing the protest could spill over the riots in May and June, when dozens of businesses were destroyed.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser called in National Guard troops to bolster the city's police force.

She urged residents to stay away from downtown Washington and avoid confrontation with anyone “looking for a fight”.

However, she warned: "We will not allow people to incite violence, intimidate our residents or cause destruction in our city."

Election officials from both political parties, governors in key battlefield states and Trump's former Attorney General William Barr, said there had been no widespread fraud in the election.

Almost all of Trump and his allies' legal challenges have been dismissed by judges, including two challenges denied by the Supreme Court.

A pro-Trump rally on December 12 ended in violence as hundreds of Trump supporters wearing the signature black and yellow of the Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group, sought confrontation with a collective of local activists who tried to get them from Black Lives rule out Matter Plaza, an area near the White House.

Black Lives Matter banners were torn down and set on fire in at least two local black churches.

On Monday the police arrested the leader of the Proud Boys, Henry & # 39; Enrique & # 39; Tarrio, 36, after arriving in Washington before this week's protests.

Tarrio was accused of burning one of the Black Lives Matter banners in December and was found with two high-powered gun magazines, according to police.

A judge Tuesday signed an order banning Tarrio from entering the District of Columbia, with very limited exceptions related to his criminal case.

In addition to the National Guard, federal agents were on standby in case they were needed quickly around town this week.

The federal prison office said some 100 "specially trained officers" had been sent to Justice Department headquarters to assist other security guards, but would "remain in reserve if not necessary".

Trump supporters and members of the Proud Boys clashed with police in the country's capital on Tuesday evening, the day before Congress is due to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

The police tried to contain the crowd that cursed the officers stationed on the streets and accused them of failing to protect the constitution.

"You've lost both sides of support," shouted a man. "We had your back, but we don't have your back anymore!"

Chants of & # 39; f *** Antifa & # 39; and some recited the promise of allegiance as they tried to break the police lines.

An injured Trump supporter is helped after clashing with counter-demonstrators on Tuesday

An injured Trump supporter is helped after clashing with counter-demonstrators on Tuesday

Police and protesters shuffled on the streets of Washington DC Tuesday evening

Police and protesters shuffled on the streets of Washington DC Tuesday evening

Trump fans braved the cold Tuesday night to show their support for the president

Trump fans braved the cold Tuesday night to show their support for the president

A Trump supporter is shown recovering from tear gassing when the protests turned violent

A Trump supporter is shown recovering from tear gassing when the protests turned violent

The police put up barriers on Tuesday evening to separate Trump supporters from counter-demonstrators

The police put up barriers on Tuesday evening to separate Trump supporters from counter-demonstrators

Many Trump supporters gathered in Washington DC on Tuesday evening

Many Trump supporters gathered in Washington DC on Tuesday evening

In the early evening demonstrators – many without masks – gathered in Freedom Plaza to decipher the voting in the electoral college.

Roger Stone, the Republican agent who was pardoned by Trump in July, told the crowd that Trump was "the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln" because he "freed that slave".

Stone was convicted in November 2019 of lying under oath by lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"I'd like to end by two things," Stone said Tuesday night.

& # 39; One. Roger Stone didn't do anything wrong.

& # 39; Two. Donald Trump is the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln because he freed this slave.

"We won't let him down, and he won't let America down."

Roger Stone, the Republican pardoned by Trump, said Trump had freed "this slave".

Roger Stone, the Republican pardoned by Trump, said Trump had freed "this slave".

Stone, who was convicted in November 2019 of lied to Congress about its business during the 2016 election, was a star spokesperson

Stone, who was convicted in November 2019 of lied to Congress about its business during the 2016 election, was a star spokesperson

Mike Lindell, founder of MyPillow, reached out to the crowd to promote conspiracy theories about how Democrats allegedly crammed ballot boxes.

He also alluded to the possibility of civil war if Trump's loss is not undone.

“You must pray that our vice president will look up to God and say, 'I have to make a decision, Lord,' and make the right decision for our country,” Lindell said, playing on Mike Pence's role as electoral college leader on Wednesday's certification process .

"They don't have a (civil war) war if the other side hasn't won … they tried to steal it from us."

As temperatures dropped to the low 40s and steady rain swept the streets, hundreds stayed in the square until dark.

"I'm only here to support the president," said David Wideman, a 45-year-old firefighter who had traveled from Memphis, Tennessee.

Wideman admitted to AP that he was "confused" by a series of losses to the President's Legal Department in attempting to dismiss the election results and did not know what options Trump still had.

"I'm not sure what he can do now, but I want to hear what he has to say," Wideman said.

Donald Trump supporters traveled to Washington DC on Tuesday evening

Donald Trump supporters traveled to Washington DC on Tuesday evening

The streets in the capital have been closed ahead of the expected protests from Trump fans

The streets in the capital have been closed ahead of the expected protests from Trump fans

A man stands in front of the Washington Monument as Trump supporters protested

A man stands in front of the Washington Monument as Trump supporters protested

Trump tweeted his support for the protesters: “Washington is inundated with people who do not want an election victory stolen from emboldened radical left Democrats. Our country has had enough, they will not take it anymore! We hear you (and love you) from the Oval Office. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! & # 39;

Speakers included former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, whom the President pardoned after being convicted twice for lied to the FBI in Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

"We stand at a pivotal moment in United States history," Flynn told the crowd. "This country is awake now."

The President was due to speak personally to supporters in Washington on Wednesday during a rally on the ellipse south of the White House.

The protests coincide with the vote in Congress on Wednesday to confirm the results of the electoral college, which Trump continues to deny.

WHO ARE THE PROUD BOYS?

Gavin McInnes, co-founder of Vice Media, founded the all-male Proud Boys in 2016. McInnes and the Proud Boys have described the group as a politically incorrect men's club for "Western chauvinists" and denied belonging to right-wing extremist groups openly advocating racists and anti-Semitic views.

The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, labeled the Proud Boys as a hate group, said its members often post "downright bigotry" and "anti-Muslim and misogynist rhetoric" online and post social media images of themselves with celebrities Holocaust deniers, white nationalists and "well-known neo-Nazis".

Current leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, marched in the infamous Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in 2017.

McInnes filed a lawsuit against the SPLC in February, calling for his organization to be placed on a list of hate groups.

Proud Boys have been involved in a number of high profile violent clashes at political events.

In New York City in October 2018, police arrested several members of the Proud Boys who were fighting with anti-fascist protesters after a speech by McInnes in a Republican club in Manhattan.

Proud Boys members have also often argued with counter-protesters at rallies in California and Oregon.

The leaders of the Proud Boys have informed their supporters that they intend to take part in the rally “incognito” and to wear “ALL black”.

Tarrio revealed to Parler that "the Proud Boys will perform in record numbers on January 6, but this time with a twist".

He wrote, "We're not going to wear our traditional black and yellow."

The group's standard uniform consists of black and yellow Fred Perry polo shirts, military tanks and MAGA hats.

Tarrio wrote, "We'll be incognito and split up in smaller teams across downtown DC."

Joe Biggs, an organizer of the group, confirmed the alleged plans on his Parler account.

At the rallies, local officials and law enforcement agencies prepared for possible violent clashes on the street.

Officials said there had been six arrests as of Tuesday night for a variety of crimes, including possession of guns and ammunition, attacking a police officer, simple attack and possession of a stun gun.

Election officials from both political parties, governors in key battlefield states and Trump's former Attorney General William Barr, said there had been no widespread fraud in the election.

Almost all of Trump and his allies' legal challenges have been dismissed by judges, including two challenges denied by the Supreme Court.

A pro-Trump rally on December 12 ended in violence as hundreds of Trump supporters wearing the signature black and yellow of the Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group, sought confrontation with a collective of local activists who tried to get them from Black ruled out Lives Matter Plaza, an area near the White House.

Black Lives Matter banners were torn down and set on fire in at least two local black churches.

In addition to the National Guard, federal agents were on standby in case they were needed quickly around town this week.

The federal prison office said some 100 "specially trained officers" had been sent to Justice Department headquarters to assist other security guards, but would "remain in reserve if not necessary".

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security said it had no plans to send Customs and Border Protection agents to the demonstration on Wednesday, unlike the riots in Washington in May and June.

& # 39; At the moment we have not been asked to provide. However, we have a modest rapid response force on standby in case our assistance is requested, ”said agency commissioner Mark Morgan.

A pro-Trump rally in November drew around 15,000 participants.

The December 12 rally attracted smaller numbers but a larger contingent of Proud Boys.

Washington DC police were in effect prior to the expected protest and counter protest

Washington DC police were in effect prior to the expected protest and counter protest

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