Elrich: “Please stay away, and please stay safe.”

County Executive Marc Elrich issued a statement today asking residents to avoid the protestors set to descend on Washington D.C. on Wednesday in support of President Trump’s “erroneous claims that the election was fraudulent.”

Mr. Elrich joined leaders in Washington, D.C., and Virginia, who are also asking residents to avoid the protests.

The full statement is below:

“The right to protest is a fundamental right of every American. I have personally exercised this right for decades. But this week I am joining Mayor Bowser and other regional leaders in urging our residents to avoid demonstrations by protestors supporting President Trump’s erroneous claims that the election was fraudulent. These are not ordinary times, and these will not be ordinary protests.

“Protest organizers and the groups they represent have shown an alarming affinity for violence. Sadly, they have not been shy about suggesting the need for violence. There is talk of disrupting the counting of votes in Congress, which would require extreme actions. This could create a volatile situation that may get out of hand, and we do not want people putting themselves in harm’s way. If the Trump-aligned protesters decide to make a move on Congress, I do not think it would be wise for counter-protesters to try to block this action, or to find themselves between the police and these protesters – that is a job for the police, and the police should be allowed to focus on those who continue to try to disrupt our election and overturn its legitimate outcome.

“The constitutional processes in play will allow the outcome of the election to be certified, as it should be. Our democracy will be safe for another day, notwithstanding concerns for what the president might yet attempt in his last 14 days in office. Unfortunately, there is no assurance that the mixing of protesters and counter-protesters will lead to what “normally” happens where two sides simply yell at each other. We have already seen in this country where this mix has proven toxic and can lead to violence. If there is an effort to disrupt the vote count, which would require an attempt to prevent the actual counting in Congress, there will be a confrontation. We do not want the police to be tasked with managing that confrontation along with confrontations between the two opposing protest groups.

“So, I am asking that residents not go to counter-protests and potentially put themselves in harm’s way. It’s not necessary to do that in order to protect the election’s outcome despite the president’s worst efforts to subvert the Constitution. Let Congress do its job, let the police protect Congress against whatever threats may evolve, and let’s do our part to make sure that the task confronting the police is as simple as possible. And let us hope that peace and human decency prevail at the end of the day. Please stay away, and please stay safe.”

Photo: betterDCregion, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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