U.S. officials are now making preparations for a massive pro-Trump rally that is expected to take place on Wednesday. The "Stop the Steal" rally is expected to be held as Congress meets to certify President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the country's presidential elections.
President Donald Trump - who only now has two weeks left as the country's leader - has repeatedly called the Nov. 3 elections fraudulent without presenting any evidence. Trump has invited his loyal supporters to protest the congressional certification and to gather in downtown Washington, DC.
City officials said that they have placed all officers at high alert. They have also taken all possible measures to avoid violent clashes during the rally. Pro-Trump activists are expected to converge on Freedom Plaza on Tuesday night.
District of Columbia mayor, Muriel Bowser, has urged residents to avoid going downtown on Tuesday and Wednesday. She also advised residents to avoid confrontations during the rally.
"We will not allow people to incite violence, intimidate our residents or cause destruction in our city," Bowser said.
Bowser said that protesters attending Wednesday's rally will be barred from carrying firearms in some downtown areas. She said that possessing firearms in U.S. Capitol grounds and National Park Service areas is illegal under federal law. Firearms will also be banned in areas such as the National Mall and the Ellipse.
Bowser's warnings are warranted given the nature of previous Trump rallies. In a protest in December, activists showed up wearing combat uniforms and some were armed with high-powered weapons. Local media reports said that at least four people were stabbed during the protests and police had arrested at least 30 demonstrators.
A report published by The Associated Press claimed that the city has requested the deployment of more than 340 National Guard troops.
District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine said that the anxiety level in the city is very high and everyone is preparing themselves for what could happen. Racine said that pro-Trump groups have been known to cause a ruckus during these types of rallies, including destroying public properties, picking fights, and threatening locals.