Washington, D.C. officials are bracing for possibly one of the largest number of protesters the nation’s capital has ever seen.
“We have a lot of public, open-source information to suggest that the event on this upcoming Saturday may be one of the largest that we’ve had in the city,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said to reporters during a press briefing Thursday, according to WTOP.
Organizers say 1 million people are coming to protest in DC this weekend.
If coronavirus is really as dangerous as the media claimed just 3 weeks ago, this is basically a biological attack on the nation’s capital.
— HARLAN Z. HILL (@Harlan) June 4, 2020
The U.S. Secret Service announced Thursday that it would be closing certain areas around the White House to increase security, according to WTOP. Defense Secretary Mark Esper also overturned an earlier decision by the Pentagon to send several hundred active-duty troops home from the D.C. region, according to the Associated Press.
“It is our intent at this point not to bring in active forces, we don’t think we need them at this point,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press. “But it’s prudent to have the reserve capability in the queue, on a short string.”
“We expect that Saturday’s demonstration will, like I said, be more of the same peaceful demonstrators coming to exercise their First Amendment right in Washington, D.C.,” said Newsham. (RELATED: DC Protesters Accosted, Chased Out An NBC Crew. The Network Isn’t Covering It. We Have It On Video)
On Thursday D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser thanked Governors on twitter for refraining from sending National Guard troops in to the city. She also challenged Trump’s authority to send troops, and the National Guard from other states, to quell protests there.
“The very first thing is we want troops from out-of-state out of Washington, D.C.,” Bowser said, according to WTOP. She also called for D.C. statehood in order for the region to have autonomy over how the National Guard is deployed to the city.