(The Center Square) – Hundreds, if not thousands, of Floridians will be participating in at least four marches planned Wednesday in Washington as part of President Donald Trump’s “big protest” against the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Floridians, ranging from prominent Trump supporters such as presidential pardon beneficiary Roger Stone and Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who already has been arrested, to county GOP party chairs and grassroots voters have been arriving since Monday by plane, train, car and bus to participate in "Stop the Steal" protests across Washington as Congress gets ready to certify the electoral votes Wednesday.
Wild Protest and Stop the Steal organizers planned a Tuesday evening rally at Freedom Plaza. On Wednesday, there will be an all-day rally on the Ellipse, with a 1 p.m. march from there to the north entrance of the Capitol Building, where Vice President Mike Pence is expected to arrive before the vote.
Stone, pardoned from a three-year sentence for lying to Congress; Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton; QAnon boosters and newly seated U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Lauren Boebert; and Joe Flynn, brother of short-lived Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, will address the Trump faithful, with the president himself teasing a visit at some point.
Mark Phillips, chair of the Flagler County Liberty Coalition, said Monday he had booked three buses to take at least 150 people to Washington on Tuesday.
“Everybody feels that there is definitely the possibility still that Trump will be the president for the next four years,” Phillips told Florida Daily, insisting Trump should be declared the winner in Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania “due to fraud” even though he acknowledged it has failed to be proven.
“It is our duty now to step up, take the bull by the horns, and take our country back,” he said. “It’s not a fun thing. It’s not a nice thing.”
"A lot of people are driving, some are flying," former Brevard County state GOP committee member Cheryl Lankes told Florida Today, noting she’ll be in Washington on Wednesday after an all-night bus ride.
Indian River County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Jay Kramer said at least two busloads, about 100 people, from the Indian River County area will be at Wednesday’s protests.
Broward County Republican Executive Committee Vice Chairman Joe D’Uva spearheaded a bus caravan that picked up supporters between Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville that is set to arrive in Washington on Wednesday morning.
Tarrio had planned to lead his far-right, black-and-yellow clad Proud Boys contingent Wednesday after being arrested Monday by Washington Metropolitan Police Department officers.
Tarrio was detained on a warrant stemming from an incident during Dec. 12 protests in Washington that saw four people stabbed and 33 arrested. He is accused of burning a Black Lives Matter banner torn from a historic downtown church and is facing a weapons charges after officers found two high-capacity firearm magazines on his possession when he was arrested, a police spokesman said.
Tarrio, however, was banned by a judge Tuesday from entering Washington.
Proud Boys are among the right-wing groups, including Three Percenters and Oath Keepers, Washington officials said they will be monitoring closely during the coming days.
“There are people intent on coming to our city armed,” Acting Police Chief Robert Contee said.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has requested a limited National Guard deployment to help bolster the city’s police.
“We will not allow people to incite violence, intimidate our residents or cause destruction in our city,” she said.