Antifa protesters wearing helmets and carrying riot shields marched through the streets of Manhattan on Sunday amid fears of further political violence after last week’s deadly mob attack by Donald Trump supporters at the Capitol.
One woman held a placard saying ‘Trump Lost! Fascists Get Out!’ and ‘Trump/Pence Out Now’ amid calls for the president to be impeached a second time for inciting the Capitol riot.
While the march appeared mostly peaceful, one hardline Trump supporter claimed she was ‘assaulted’ by protesters who allegedly egged her and harassed her with an umbrella while she tried to film the protest.
An Antifa group in New York claimed the march as as an ‘anti-fascist victory’ after few Trump supporters turned out to challenge them, saying that ‘MAGA and the Proud Boys didn’t show up because we mobilized’.
Fears of renewed violence have led to a crackdown by social media giants against Trump and some of his supporters, with last week’s siege raising concerns over what will happen at next week’s Biden inauguration.
Trump supporters are feared to be targeting Biden’s inauguration for more violence, and there are plans for a ‘million militia march’ across the country to repeat their discredited claims that the election was ‘stolen’ from Trump.
March: Antifa protesters wearing helmets and carrying riot shields march through Times Square on Sunday in a protest that came amid calls for Donald Trump’s resignation or removal after last week’s violence at the Capitol
Show of force: The black-clad protesters marched through the streets of New York City in a protest which they hailed as an ‘anti-fascist victory’ because MAGA and Proud Boys rivals failed to show up
Face to face: A protester wearing a mock police uniform and a pig’s head holds a microphone towards an NYPD officer on a bicycle during Sunday’s Antifa protest in Manhattan
The NYC protest came a day after clashes between Trump supporters and Antifa protesters in San Diego, where rocks, bottles and eggs were thrown at police during what was declared an unlawful assembly.
Television footage showed black-clad Antifa protesters throwing a folding chair and spraying a chemical irritant at another group of people on the Pacific Beach boardwalk.
In Washington, the Capitol has been surrounded by fencing after the Trump-supporting mob overran the scaffolding that had been put up ahead of Biden’s swearing in on January 20.
The inauguration has already been scaled back because of the pandemic and is further out of the ordinary because Trump will not be attending to see his successor take the oath.
A few groups have submitted requests for protest permits with the National Park Service for the inauguration, including a group called ‘Let America Hear Us Roar For Trump’ that seeks to ‘support our President.’
In November, the leader of the the extremist Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, vowed send his members to the inauguration disguised as Biden supporters to sow chaos.
But with Tarrio banned from DC for six months as a condition of bail and federal authorities seeking other members in connection with Wednesday’s attack, it was unclear if those plans are still on
Eye to eye: One protester lowered his mask to harangue a police officer during Sunday’s protest, which comes amid fears of further political violence ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on January 20
Equipped: The Antifa protesters brought helmets, goggles and matching riot shields to their march on Sunday, with some of them carrying Black Lives Matter paraphernalia
Protest: A man wearing a purple ski mask dragged an American flag over a pedestrian crossing during Sunday’s march
On the streets: A New York Antifa group praised the shield-bearing protesters who ‘turned out, kept each other safe, marched, played music, chanted, and showed the world that the far-right is never, ever welcome here’
Washington’s mayor has asked for increased security around the inauguration amid fears that far-right extremists are planning further violence.
More than 6,000 members of the National Guard from Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland will help support the Capitol Police and other law enforcement in Washington for the next 30 days.
The Secret Service is also overseeing security at the event along with other federal agencies including the Department of Defense.
Biden told reporters on Friday that he has ‘great confidence in the Secret Service’ and their ability to make sure the inauguration ‘goes off safely.’
The hardened-up security plans in DC come after the Department of Defense said it was aware of ‘further possible threats posed by would-be terrorists in the days up to and including Inauguration Day’, Congressman Jason Crow (D – Colorado) said in a statement Sunday after speaking with Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy about security preparations.
The Department of Homeland Security is working with the Defense Department, local DC authorities and inauguration officials to sharpen the law enforcement response in the coming days, including by erecting non-scalable fencing and security checkpoints around Capitol Hill.
‘Now that it happened people will take it much more seriously,’ a senior DHS official told CNN in reference to last week’s violence. ‘Now, the planners, they are all going to take it much more seriously.’
Federal and local authorities have faced fierce criticism for their perceived failure to crack down on Wednesday’s insurrection despite evidence that they knew it was coming.
Hundreds of people might now face federal charges in the wake of last week’s Capitol breach, DC’s acting US attorney said in an interview with NPR over the weekend, saying a massive, 24-hour-a-day hunt was on to identify suspects and bring charges against them.
In the meantime, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said she is ‘extremely concerned’ about security on Inauguration Day in a letter to acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf over the weekend. She wrote that the event ‘will require a very different approach to previous inaugurations given the chaos, injury and death experienced at the US Capitol during the insurrection’.
Federal and state officials are said to be working together in all 50 states to monitor online chatter about efforts to organize protests that could lead to further violence.
The DHS has faced criticism for failing to step in when Capitol Police requested back-up during last week’s insurrection.
The Pentagon is now considering sending as many as 13,000 guardsmen to secure the nation’s capital on Inauguration Day, January 20. Prior to the Capitol breach, officials had planned to deploy roughly 7,000 guardsmen
With Joe Biden’s inauguration fast approaching in nine days, Washington, DC, and cities around the US are bracing for violent protests similar to that which left five people dead at the Capitol last week. Pictured: Members of the New York National Guard line up on the East Front of the Capitol on Monday morning
Cuccinelli suggested the agency didn’t get enough notice, saying that by the time the request came in, ‘it was just too close to when everything began to heat up’.
But a former top DHS official dismissed that assertion, arguing that authorities were aware of the possibility of violence well in advance.
‘Law enforcement was ill-prepared for an event the entire country knew was coming, and one that POTUS had been signaling for weeks,’ Brian Harrell, former DHS assistant secretary for infrastructure protection, told CNN, referencing the president.
‘The normal “layers of security”, with each inner layer being tougher to breach, was nearly non-existent. It’s shocking, that in a post 9/11 world, we witnessed the “people’s house” be breached and ransacked with ease’, Harrell said.
Harrell said he expects much more substantial security will be implemented prior to the inauguration. He said the biggest threats to the event will be an active shooter scenario, vehicle ramming and the deliberate targeting of critical infrastructure.
Masked protesters carried a banner saying ‘United Against Racism and Fascism, NYC’ past a Barclays building in Manhattan
WASHINGTON: The Capitol is seen through a fence on Sunday amid heightened security ahead of next week’s inauguration