Road closures, DC response: What to know about Saturday’s planned demonstrations

With possible pro-Trump demonstrations and likely counterprotesting on Saturday, D.C. leaders offered some answers this week about what to expect.

“We’re concerned about making sure that we have safe First Amendment demonstrations,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a news conference.

Christopher Rodriguez, D.C.’s director of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, answered more specific questions about how many people might show up.

“In terms of the number of groups that we’re currently tracking, it’s about a dozen, but they’re very small,” Rodriguez said. He also clarified that though they’re following approximately a dozen groups, there are “about a dozen” people within each organization.

“MPD is being very proactive in terms of the street closures,” Rodriguez said, “making sure from a public message standpoint that people who come to the District know that you can’t bring weapons, and you can’t bring guns into our city. Violence will not be tolerated.”

D.C. police also sent a statement to WTOP, saying, in part, that police “will have the necessary resources deployed to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents and visitors this weekend.”

Who’s demonstrating?

Many of the groups appear to be planning the demonstration online, and the event has been referred to by different names.

DCist reported that it has been called the Million MAGA March, the March for Trump, or Stop the Steal DC.

InfoWars’ Alex Jones announced Monday about a Stop the Steal Caravan that will go from Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and D.C. The caravan is expected to arrive in D.C. on Friday, and meet up with Jones on Saturday.

Jones said his group will have a battle tank. “We’re ready. We know what’s coming,” Jones said in his show.

Other groups that reported showing up include Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, Proud Boys, white nationalists and neo-Nazis, Politico reported.

WTOP national security correspondent J.J. Green has been monitoring the plans for the protest, and he said that though the rhetoric on social media is certainly very heated, some followers appear doubtful about coming to D.C.

“There are not a lot of people biting on this; there are a lot of people following them on social media. But there are a lot of people that are doubtful about the wisdom of coming here to do this,” Green said.

Federal, state and local law enforcement, and organizations that have protested against President Donald Trump, are monitoring the groups planning to converge in D.C. on Saturday. But Green said something similar to the 2017 fatal clash between white nationalists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, is “not likely to happen” in D.C.

“In part because authorities here are so well-prepared and have that knowledge under their belt. And … you can’t carry guns in D.C. … I’m pretty sure that any organizers are making it very clear to people who come to D.C., ‘Do not bring a gun.’ Other weapons, maybe, but it’s not likely that this is going to turn into that,” Green said.

In addition, Green said there’s going to be some resistance, as there are a lot of people already in D.C. who are celebrating the 2020 election.

In 2018, protesters outnumbered a group of white nationalists during the second Unite the Right Rally in D.C.

Federal law enforcement Green spoke to said they do not expect much of a showing from these groups, or from any other group that may be legitimately associated with white supremacist activities.

“One of the things that (the protesters) pointed out is, ‘Yes, we normally go out, and we raise a lot of cane about the Second Amendment, but what we should do this time is what these groups are saying, ‘We should go to Washington to exercise our First Amendment right,’ which is the right to peaceably assemble,” Green said.

Road closures

From Thursday at 6 p.m. to Sunday at 11:59 p.m., the following streets will be posted as “Emergency No Parking”:

  • H Street from 15th Street to 17th Street
  • I Street from 15th Street to 17th Street
  • Connecticut Avenue from H Street NW to L Street, NW
  • Vermont Avenue from H Street NW to L Street NW
  • 15th Street from I Street to K Street, NW (west side of McPherson Square)
  • 17th Street from I Street to K Street NW (east side of Franklin Square)

The following streets will be posted as “Emergency No Parking” on Friday at 2 p.m. to Sunday at  11:59 p.m.:

  • Constitution Avenue from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to 18th Street NW
  • Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd Street, NW to 18th Street NW
  • I Street from 9th Street NW to 15th Street NW
  • I Street from 17th Street, NW to 18th Street NW
  • H Street from 9th Street NW to 15th Street NW
  • H Street from 17th Street, NW to 18th Street NW
  • K Street from 9th Street NW to 18th Street NW
  • New York Avenue from 9th Street NW to 15th Street NW
  • 15th Street from Constitution Avenue NW to L Street NW (east side of McPherson Square)
  • 16th Street from K Street to O Street
  • 17th Street from Constitution Avenue NW to L Street NW (west side of Farragut Square)
  • 14th Street from Independence Avenue SW to K Street NW
  • 13th Street from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to E Street NW
  • 12th Street from Constitution Avenue NW to E Street NW
  • 11th Street from Constitution Avenue NW to E Street NW
  • 10th Street from Constitution Avenue NW to E Street NW
  • 9th Street from Constitution Avenue NW to E Street NW
  • 7th Street from Independence Avenue SW to E Street NW
  • 6th Street from Constitution Avenue NW to E Street NW
  • 4th Street from Independence Avenue SW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • 3rd Street from Independence Avenue SW to D Street NW
  • New York Avenue from 18th Street NW to 17th Street NW
  • C Street from 18th Street NW to 17th Street NW
  • D Street from 18th Street NW to 17th Street NW
  • Madison Street from 3rd Street NW to 15th Street NW
  • Jefferson Street from 3rd Street NW to 15th Street NW

On Saturday, the following streets will be closed to vehicular traffic from about 6 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

D.C. police said that if it is deemed to be safe, vehicles will be allowed to enter the area for essential business or traveling to and from their residences.

  • Constitution Avenue from Pennsylvania Avenue to 18th Street NW
  • Independence Avenue SW from 14th Street to Ohio Drive SW
  • K Street from 9th Street NW to 18th Street NW
  • I Street from 9th Street NW to 18th Street NW
  • H Street from 9th Street NW to 18th Street NW
  • New York Avenue from 9th Street NW to 15th Street NW
  • New York Avenue from 17th Street NW to 18th Street NW
  • G Street from 9th Street NW to 15th Street NW
  • G Street from 17th Street NW to 18th Street, NW
  • F Street from 9th Street NW to 15th Street NW
  • F Street from 17th Street NW to 18th Street NW
  • E Street from 9th Street NW to 15th Street, NW
  • E Street from 17th Street NW to 18th Street NW
  • D Street from 5th Street NW to 9th Street NW
  • D Street from 17th Street NW to 18th Street NW
  • C Street from 3rd Street NW to 6th Street NW
  • C Street from 17th Street NW to 18th Street NW
  • Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 3rd Street, NW to 15th Street NW
  • Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 17th Street, NW to 18th Street NW
  • Indiana Avenue from 3rd Street to 5th Street NW
  • 3rd Street from Independence Avenue SW to D Street NW
  • 4th Street from Independence Avenue SW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • 4th Street from Indiana Avenue NW to E Street NW
  • 5th Street from Indiana Avenue NW to E Street NW
  • 6th Street from Constitution Avenue NW to E Street NW
  • 7th Street from Independence Avenue SW to E Street NW
  • 9th Street from Constitution Avenue NW to E Street NW
  • 10th Street from Constitution Avenue NW to L Street NW
  • 11th Street from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to L Street NW
  • 12th Street from Constitution Avenue NW to L Street NW
  • 13th Street from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to L Street NW
  • 14th Street from Independence Avenue SW to L Street NW
  • 15th Street from Independence Avenue SW to L Street NW
  • 16th Street from H Street NW to L Street NW
  • Vermont Avenue from H Street NW to L Street NW
  • Connecticut Avenue from H Street NW to L Street NW
  • 17th Street from Independence Avenue SW to L Street NW
  • Madison Street from 3rd Street NW to 15th Street NW
  • Jefferson Street from 3rd Street SW to 15th Street SW
  • 12th Street Tunnel
  • 9th Street Tunnel

D.C. police said they are not expecting street closures on Friday or Sunday, but there may be intermittent closures in the downtown area.

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