Small groups of counter-protesters gathered near the city and the Supreme Court in support of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory – which the president described as false.
Several groups participating in the rally have different core beliefs, but were united in their unwavering support for the president on Saturday. These included anti-government groups such as the sworn, far-flung groups such as the Proud Boys and The Three Percenters, conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones and Republican members of Congress.
Words from at least three different incidents of Trump have circulated on social media in recent times – “Stop the Steel,” March for Trump “and” Million Maga March. “Throng began pouring in Freedom Plaza, just east of the White House, hours before events.
The organizer for the “March for Trump” event – which obtained permission for the rally – did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
Mainstream conservative voices and elected officials such as Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania were advertised as speakers for the “March for Trump” program.
While warnings of possible violence were made, the day was peaceful without any major incidents. Washington, DC police told CNN that they had made some arrests, but did not say how many.
For those who have been tracking right and extremist groups for years, Saturday’s rally marks the thinning of a line between mainstream right and far-right extremists.
Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said he fully expected Trump to be fully there to show his support, but the event was an opportunity for extremists to mingle with that demographic .
“There is a forum, there are pro-Trump supporters and conservatives, and people who want to express their support for this president, who will get along with the extremists, if you are with the extremists,”.
As misinformation about the elections made its way from fringe platforms to the president’s inside Twitter feed, Segal feared Saturday’s march could be its physical manifestation, spreading not only misinformation but hateful, extremist rhetoric is.
“The fact that this kind of place is attracting people who buy into the idea that something is being stolen and taken away, and that extremists may be near them is a generalization of extremists There is more concern and what can happen then you get a group of people together who are upset. ”
Ray Sanchez and Mallory Simon of CNN contributed to this report.