SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Both far-right and far-left demonstrators are expected to descend on Sacramento this week in connection with the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, experts predict.
It’s unclear exactly what groups may participate, but those who study hate and extremism believe conservative groups and individuals and supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump are expected to protest the false claims of voter fraud and a stolen 2020 election.
Groups on the far-left such as Sacramento’s Ant-fascists known as Antifa, have called for anti-protest on social media. Similar groups are calling for a “coordinated community defense” against far-right groups and law enforcement to which they consider “enemies of the people.”
These groups have clashed numerous times before, including reports of multiple fights breaking out on Jan. 6, 2021 – the same time the U.S. Capitol was being breached by insurrectionists aimed at stopping the Presidential electoral vote from being confirmed by Congress.
Last week, the FBI announced they were aware of dangerous rhetoric from some groups calling for “storming the capitol” of California. Though officials said free and peaceful speech would be protected, violence would not.
In anticipation of potentially violent protests on the weekend before the Presidential inauguration, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered 1,000 soldiers with the California National Guard to the capital city. They arrived Saturday morning.
Law enforcement at all levels of government have been on high alert and security in Sacramento at its highest point in recent history.
Some Sacramento community groups and activists are urging people to stay home and avoid conflict during this time. Leia Schenk is the founder of Sacramento’s EMPACT, an organization that promotes community activism.
Schenk will be heading to Washington D.C. to observe the inauguration and will not be protesting this week. She says she respects others’ rights to do so but says that is their choice.
“This has nothing to do with black lives, it has nothing to do with black people getting justice and accountability,” Schenk said. “There’s nothing that we’ll get out of this in the end.”
Organizer of “Let Freedom Ring,” Chris Bish, wanted to hold a rally at the California capital in support of President Donald Trump that would baselessly claim wide-spread voter fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. When the permit for 3,000 attendees was denied, Bish urged everyone to stay home.
“If you go out to any of these events, for the Trump supporters, you’re not a Trump supporter,” Bish said. “For anybody going out there, if you do it, all you’re doing is looking for trouble and you deserve what you get.”
Both Bish and Schenk say they will plan events in the coming weeks or months when the climate shifts and when they believe it is safe to do so.
Meanwhile, many in Sacramento, including individuals, business owners, and law enforcement are bracing for whatever may come in the next few days.
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