As you may be aware, federal agencies have provided demonstration permits for hate groups that will be visiting the District this week. These permits are for federal property, and District agencies were not involved in granting these permits.
I unequivocally condemn these groups, their messages of hate and their intent to cause violence and destruction in our community. The groups are seeking confrontation, so we are asking residents to avoid engaging with these groups. The areas to avoid include the Ellipse, National Mall, Capitol grounds, & downtown.
I understand how upsetting this is. The bottom line is: we want our residents to stay safe.
Councilmembers were briefed by HSEMA Director Chris Rodriguez, Acting MPD Chief Robert Contee, and Attorney General Karl Racine on the precautions being taken to protect our residents and neighborhoods, including religious institutions. You can find more details about the safety plan here. (https://mayor.dc.gov/release/mayor-bowser-continues-preparation-upcoming-first-amendment-demonstrations)
As Chair of the Committee on Human Services, I’ve also been in touch DHS. They have increased outreach to provide information on access to shelter to individuals experiencing homelessness in these areas. For individuals who decide to stay in the area (& not seek shelter), they are providing PPE and comfort supplies. An important number to save and share is the Shelter Hotline: 202-399-7093, which will be operating 24/7 this week.
I, along with my Council colleagues, will continue to monitor the events taking place. Below is a joint statement from the Council.
We urge people to avoid the downtown and federal areas where permits for events have been issued for January 5 and 6. In similar recent events, white supremacists and militia groups have created conflict and provoked violence, creating harm for individuals and to our institutions. We urge residents to recognize these are the voices of those who have already lost. Votes have been certified and the demonstrations this week will not change the outcome of this election. There is no gain for all people who desire peace in engaging with those who come here with malicious intent, and doing so only brings great risk.
The peaceful transfer of power following a free and fair election is a cornerstone of our democracy. Any efforts to disenfranchise voters and overturn the will of the electors is nothing short of betraying our very American democracy and should be strongly condemned by all.
The District of Columbia is no stranger to peaceful demonstrations and protecting individuals’ rights to exercise their First Amendment. In an unequivocal and unanimous voice, we also condemn hate and the actions witnessed against District residents, faith-based institutions, and the District’s core values in the past months specifically actions to destroy symbols that proclaim that Black Lives Matter. This Council has time and again worked to strengthen our laws and all legal protections against hate. We stand ready to protect our residents.
We recognize that downtown is home to residents and businesses whose rights must be respected and protected as we work to keep all safe, including residents who are currently homeless. We call upon the Mayor’s Office, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and coordinating agencies to ensure this is a priority as events go forward this week. Further, we call on MPD and all law enforcement to ensure safety, prevent violence, and to do so with no appearance of preference or disparate treatment.
MPD has also issued a Traffic Advisory. There will be parking restrictions & potential street closures for you to consider (click here for full size):
Residents and commuters are also encouraged to register for important alerts from the District by signing up for AlertDC at alertdc.dc.gov.
Office of Brianne K. Nadeau 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 102 Washington, DC 20004 Phone: (202) 724-8181