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The US Capitol is braced for a possible attack by Qanon conspiracy theorists who believe that Donald Trump will retake the Presidency on Thursday.
House members were sent home on Wednesday and much of the political centre of Washington DC is fenced off as police warn of “a possible plot to breach the Capitol.”
Security has been beefed up after both federal authorities and the sergeant-at-arms warned of discussions by “militia violent extremists” to seize control of the complex on or around March 4.
The date has been earmarked for trouble because until the 1930s, March 4 was the date of Presidential inaugurations. Qanon conspiracy theorists, who believe that Mr Trump is waging a war behind the scenes against elite Satan-worshipping paedophiles in high ranking roles, want to see him returned to office.
An unidentified group of "militia violent extremists" discussed plans in February to "take control of the U.S. Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or about March 4," according to a bulletin issued on Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.
The police force that guards the U.S. Capitol said it had "taken immediate steps to enhance our security posture and staffing for a number of days, to include March 4."
Capitol Police also said that they were "aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex," including the possible militia attack.
The U.S. House of Representatives will not be in session on Thursday, in part because of the threat of militia members attempting to invade the Capitol.
Washington's police chief, Robert Contee, said on Wednesday his department was deploying more police around the city to ensure public safety and sniffer dog units were checking buses around the Capitol Hill area.
Former President Trump has not commented on the situation.
More than 300 people have been charged for involvement in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 that led to five deaths, including a policeman.