Law enforcement in Washington D.C. said they are monitoring the potential threat of further violence as followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory eagerly await March 4.
There is no suggestion that the QAnon supporters are planning anything in particular, but both Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department are keen not to have a repeat of the deadly January 6 attack, which conspiracy theorists took part in.
QAnon followers first mentioned the supposed significance of March 4 following Joe Biden’s inauguration. The date has since been widely discussed on encrypted messaging service app Telegram.
“Happy President’s Day Mr. President! We love you!! Can’t wait until March 4th,” Telegram user Jennifer wrote on Monday in a QAnon channel with more than 20,000 subscribers. “A beautiful day for the history books and to restore America. It cannot come soon enough.”
Stephanie Ayres added: “Cannot wait until the inauguration March 4 first true president in years.”
Their arcane reasoning ignores how their other predictions have failed to come true.
According to QAnon, Trump will become the 19th president on March 4 because of a theory, also believed by the so-called sovereign citizen movement, that a law was secretly passed in 1871 that turned the U.S. into a corporation. As a result of this, all other presidents after Ulysses S. Grant are illegitimate, the theory goes.
March 4 is the date that presidential inauguration ceremonies used to take place, before it was moved to January 20 in 1933 in order to shorten the lame-duck period.
Capitol Police said in a statement to Newsweek: “The Department is constantly analyzing intelligence and working with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to prepare for any threats that come our way, to include March 4.”
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department said it does not discuss operational tactics, but added: “we will continue to monitor and plan accordingly with our local and federal law enforcement partners to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents and visitors to the District of Columbia. MPD has not issued any permits for this date.”
Yogananda Pittman, the interim chief of the Capitol Police, apologized in a January 26 testimony before Congress for the department’s lack of preparation after the attack had been discussed and built up on social media.
“We knew that militia groups and white supremacists organizations would be attending,” Pittman wrote. “We also knew that some of these participants were intending to bring firearms and other weapons to the event. We knew that there was a strong potential for violence and that Congress was the target.”
Trump has repeatedly pushed provenly false claims of widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential contest with Biden.
The now-former president was impeached, for a second time, last month on a charge of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol in January. He was later acquitted because fewer than two-thirds of senators voted to convict.
There were also fears that there could be further violence at Biden’s inauguration, at which some QAnon supporters believed Trump would fulfill a long-awaited prophecy known as “the storm,” in which satanic pedophiles are arrested and executed.
However, the event passed without incident following increased security and thousands of National Guard troops deployed to the capital. The lack of any “storm” also saw many QAnon followers finally disillusioned with the conspiracy theory following years of false hope, whereas others still believed it was all part of the overall “plan.”