At least six people were arrested after supporters of President Donald Trump descended on Washington, D.C. ahead of a joint session of Congress expected to affirm Joe Biden’s election victory on Wednesday.
Pro-Trump protesters gathered in Freedom Plaza, near the White House, on Tuesday to back the president’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Videos on social media showed many protesters stayed in the area long into the night, clashing with police officers near Black Lives Matter Plaza. At least one officer was seen deploying what appears to be pepper spray to push back the crowd.
The Metropolitan Police Department said six individuals had been arrested as of 9 p.m. on Tuesday, according to NBC News, for offenses including assaulting a police officer and simple assault.
Some were also facing weapons-related charges, such as carrying firearms without a license, possession of unregistered ammunition and possession of an unregistered firearm.
The police department has been contacted for additional comment.
Trump tweeted his support for the protesters on Tuesday—and is expected to address his supporters during a Wednesday rally on the Ellipse, south of the White House.
“Washington is being inundated with people who don’t want to see an election victory stolen by emboldened Radical Left Democrats,” the president tweeted on Tuesday. “Our Country has had enough, they won’t take it anymore! We hear you (and love you) from the Oval Office. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
In another tweet, he said he hoped both Democrats and Republicans were “looking at the thousands of people pouring into D.C.”
He then warned antifa (an umbrella term for left-leaning groups that oppose fascism) to stay out of the capital. “Law enforcement is watching you very closely!” Trump said.
His comments came after Enrique Tarrio, leader of the far-right Proud Boys, was arrested as he arrived in the city on Monday over the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner at a church in December.
Tarrio was released from custody on Tuesday, but banned from entering Washington, D.C.
Last week, Tarrio announced that he and other Proud Boys planned to attend Wednesday’s pro-Trump protests in the capital “incognito.”
“The Proud Boys will turn out in record numbers on Jan 6th but this time with a twist,” Tarrio said on Parler, a social media platform that has become popular with right-wing activists.
“We will not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow. We will be incognito and we will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams.”
Tarrio also said the group “might dress in all BLACK for the occasion.” Antifa protesters are known to dress in black at demonstrations.
Previous pro-Trump protests have turned violent, so the National Guard has been mobilized in Washington, D.C.
More than 300 National Guard troops have been deployed to the city to assist with the patrolling of this week’s protests.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser urged residents to stay away from the downtown area on Tuesday and Wednesday and “not to engage with demonstrators who come to our city seeking confrontation.”
Police officers deploy pepper spray to push back a group of pro-Trump protesters that tried to force their way into Black Lives Matter Plaza on January 5 in Washington, D.C. Samuel Corum/Getty Images