Stars and Stripes 03 Jan, 2021 01:15 am

DC becoming a protest battleground. In a polarized nation, that's unlikely to change.

DC becoming a protest battleground. In a polarized nation, that's unlikely to change.
Up and down the western United States, protests have devolved into violent clashes replete with thrown rocks, exploding fireworks and streams of caustic chemicals. But the nation's capital has largely avoided these violent conflicts. Until now.

police cordon off a street as a members of the Proud Boys gather for a demonstration on July 4, 2020.But what happens is then you get these other groups like the Proud Boys that want to cause violence, and they know that if they come to D.Comments on a YouTube video announcing the Hotel Harrington's decision to close during the days leading up to Wednesday's protest – after a Washington Post report on how the District's oldest continuously running hotel became a Proud Boys rallying spot – devolved into calls for violence and an armed takeover along the Mall." Members of the Proud Boys, an all-male far-right extremist group with ties to white nationalism, boasted about their plans to break off into smaller groups to roam the streets looking for counterprotesters to confront.

Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, who did not respond to a request for comment for this article, wrote in a post that was widely shared on Parler and Telegram that the group will turn out "in record numbers on Jan." Tarrio and other Proud Boys leaders also told followers to ditch their signature black and gold dress in favor of all-black clothing – an apparent attempt to make far-right agitators harder to pick out in a crowd of black-clad anti-fascist and anti-Trump demonstrators.

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