WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington police banned the leader of a far-right group from the city and made two arrests on Tuesday as protesters supporting President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the election gathered in the city.
Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, who was arrested on Monday for destruction of property and possession of a firearm magazine, was released Tuesday and ordered to stay away from the city, according to a court document.
Protests against President-elect Joe Biden’s November election win, which Congress will certify on Wednesday, started across the U.S. capital on Tuesday and were expected to swell on Wednesday to thousands of people.
The outgoing president, who lost the election by 7 million votes, was expected to speak to protesters on Wednesday morning at the Ellipse, a public park south of the White House, he said in a post on Twitter on Tuesday evening.
“BIG CROWDS!” he predicted in the post.
“Washington is being inundated with people who don’t want to see an election victory stolen by emboldened Radical Left Democrats,” Trump tweeted earlier on Tuesday, as well as “See you in D.C.!,” with a link to “WinRed,” a fundraising site with his photo on it.
Tarrio, who was first arrested in connection with the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner on a church on Dec. 12, was carrying two unloaded high capacity firearm magazines bearing insignia and symbols used by the Proud Boys, including a laurel wreath surrounding the letters “PB,” according to charging court documents filed on Tuesday.
Separately, a man from North Carolina was arrested on Tuesday and charged with carrying a pistol without a license, carrying a rifle or a shotgun outside a home or business, possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device, unregistered ammunition, an unregistered firearm, and possession of fireworks, a police spokesman said.
Police also arrested a man from North Carolina for driving an unauthorized van without a permit.
Several hundred Trump supporters took part in rallies on Tuesday, including Bob Kowell, 67, a retired Boeing Co electrical engineer, who traveled from Murrieta, California.
Trump has alleged without evidence that the election was rigged. Dozens of court decisions, state election officials and the U.S. Department of Justice refute this claim.
“There is a lot of evidence,” Kowell said. “You just haven’t looked at it. There is just too much evidence out there.”
(Reporting by Jonathan Landay, Aram Roston and Makini Brice; Editing by Heather Timmons and Howard Goller)