WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Protests by pro-Trump groups, including the Proud Boys, are scheduled for the Nation's Capital this week, prompting an all-hands-on-deck response from the District government.
In a statement Sunday, Mayor Muriel Bowser said all Metropolitan Police Department officers would be required to work on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Bowser also confirmed at a press conference on Monday that the National Guard will be assisting with crowd management at the protests beginning Tuesday.
Monday marks the opening of the emergency operations center, which will allow DC to coordinate its response to the protests with federal law enforcement.
Bowser says the National Guard will be unarmed. She also says she has never requested armed guards in her time as mayor.
After anonymous posters in online chats strategized about how to sneak guns into the city, police posted signs warning that firearms are prohibited at protests. Open carry is also banned in DC.
"Don't bring weapons into our city. They are banned here in the District of Columbia and you should not expect that anyone will bring weapons here because if they do and if anyone comes here to cause violence they will be arrested," said Christopher Rodriguez, director of DC's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.
The Washington Post reports four protests are permitted for Wednesday, the day when Congress will certify the votes of the Electoral College for President-elect Joe Biden. The protests are planned in Freedom Plaza, near the Capitol and the Washington Monument and participants have repeatedly falsely claimed that there was widespread election fraud.
On conservative social media website Parler the leader of the far-right Proud Boys said his group would be represented Wednesday in record numbers and would be attending "incognito" and not in their typical black and yellow uniforms.
Black Lives Matter DC has told people not to counter-protest.
Mayor Bowser sent a similar message urging DC residents and people from across the area to stay home and especially avoid downtown DC where protest activity is taking place.
"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," Bowser said in a statement released Sunday.
Violent fights, vandalism of Black churches and a stabbing broke out at pro-Trump election results protests in DC in November and December.
D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee says the department will be increasing visibility around the churches in the area. Contee also says the department is considering the possibility of closing off Black Lives Matter Plaza, but the decision will be a "game day assessment."
Contee confirmed D.C. has not approved any permits for the District, but some permits have been approved for the U.S. Park Service. He says the department expects to see people gathering near the U.S. Capitol.
Numerous road closures will be in place during the planned protests.