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Officials have boosted security at the U.S. Capitol on and around March 4 — the day some QAnon followers falsely believe former President Donald Trump will resume power — amid concerns about demonstrations.
U.S. Capitol Police tweeted a statement Tuesday evening saying authorities are “aware of concerning information and intelligence” surrounding possible events Thursday, and an internal bulletin from House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett obtained by NBC News said his office is working with Capitol Police to monitor information and “potential protests” surrounding the day.
The concern comes in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, during which a mob of rioters in support of Trump — including members of QAnon and other far-right groups — stormed the building as Congress was certifying then-President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
Now, Capitol Police say they’ve increased security and staffing “for a number of days to include March 4.”
What is the conspiracy surrounding March 4?
Some followers of the QAnon conspiracy believe Trump will become president again, in what some have called a “true Inauguration Day” on March 4.
QAnon is an online, often pro-Trump, conspiracy theory based on the fringe belief that the government is run by a group of Satan-worshiping pedophiles including top Democratic lawmakers and a number of celebrities.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation previously labeled QAnon as a “domestic terror threat.”
Many of its followers falsely believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump, who has continuously made false claims about voter fraud despite there being no evidence to support his accusations.
Julian Feeld — the producer of the podcast “QAnon Anonymous,” which aims to debunk QAnon conspiracy theories — previously told CNN he thinks there are various beliefs about what will happen on March 4 but that some believers of the conspiracy may be expecting a “ceremony.”
“And that ceremony might be accompanied in their mind by what QAnon believers call ‘The Storm,’” he said. “That would be ... the rounding up and often military tribunals for leading Democrats but also come celebrities they believe falsely to be part of this secret pedophile cabal. So essentially people are still in this belief that Trump will come back and will become the president again.”
CNN reported in February that nearly 5,000 National Guard troops will remain in Washington, D.C., through March 12 amid concerns about violence stemming from the March 4 conspiracy.
A statement from Blodgett, however, said the threat around March 4 “appears to have declined” since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to CBS News, which also obtained the memo.
“The significance of this date has reportedly declined amongst various groups in recent days,” Blodgett said, according to CBS News. “At this time, the USCP has no indication that groups will travel to Washington, D.C., to protest or commit acts of violence.”
Why March 4?
QAnon followers previously believed Trump would not leave office on the Jan. 20 Inauguration Day and would instead declare martial law — announcing the mass arrests of Democrats and preventing President Joe Biden from taking office, ABC News reports.
When that didn’t happen, a theory began circulating among QAnon believers that Trump would instead take power again on March 4, according to ABC.
The date is based on the original Inauguration Day for U.S. presidents. Before 1933, when the 20th Amendment was ratified, presidents were sworn into office on March 4 — with Franklin D. Roosevelt the first president to be sworn into office in January.
Feeld told CNN the March 4 conspiracy stems from a “sovereign citizen belief.”
“Certain QAnon followers have borrowed whole cloth from the belief that the last legitimate president was the 18th president, so this goes back to 1871, and this is the belief that Trump will be actually inaugurated as our 19th president,” he said. “Now of course this is illogical since he was the 45th.”
He said some QAnon followers also believe that no constitutional amendment after the 16th is “valid” and that there has been “no country known as the United States since ever since it was unstuck from the gold standard.”
“So they essentially believe that Ulysses S. Grant was the last valid American president.”