The leader of the Proud Boys, a far-right group that has supported Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results, was ordered by a judge to stay out of Washington after he was arrested on Monday on charges of destruction of property stemming from an episode in the city last month. Upon his arrest, the chairman of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, was found to have two high-capacity firearm magazines and was charged with possession.
In December, violent clashes in Washington between supporters of Mr. Trump and counterprotesters left four people with stab wounds. Preparing for similar brawls, the National Guard said on Monday it would dispatch about 340 troops to the rallies, responding to Ms. Bowser’s request for additional security.
“We’re asking D.C. residents and people who live in the region to avoid confrontations with anybody who’s looking for a fight,” Ms. Bowser said Monday during a news conference.
Capitol Police also increased the number of officers present on the Capitol grounds and encouraged lawmakers to arrive early and use underground tunnels to travel to the Capitol from their offices. That way, they can avoid walking or driving in the open.
Protesters have trickled to the Capitol since Monday, many without masks and crowded close together as they carried Trump flags and “Stop the Steal” banners. Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, was seen speaking with Trump supporters who had come from his home state, repeatedly explaining why he had chosen not to object to the certification of electors. At one point, Mr. Cramer read them the entirety of the 12th Amendment, which outlines the elector process.
Such long-distance travel was not unusual. At least 10 busloads of Trump supporters from Michigan were planning to be in Washington on Wednesday to protest the election results, though Mr. Biden won the state decisively by more than 155,000 votes. Rocky Raczkowski, the chairman of the Oakland County Republican Party in Michigan, said the supporters were simply heeding Mr. Trump’s call to protest the election.
Cajun Guilbeau, 65, drove to downtown Washington from Louisiana in a truck baring signs stating, “Stop the Steal.” He said that while some individuals may turn aggressive, those he knew to be gathering for the demonstrations only wanted to show their support for Mr. Trump.