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Trump Supporters To Gather For 'Million MAGA March' In Washington DC

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Supporters of President Trump are rallying in Washington, D.C., today. They call the event the Million MAGA March. Hundreds of people have gathered near the White House to protest the presidential election results and supporting the president's baseless claims that he, and not Joe Biden, has won that election. NPR's Hannah Allam is covering the rally. Hannah, thanks so much for being with us.

HANNAH ALLAM, BYLINE: Hi there.

SIMON: What are you seeing? Who's there? What are they saying?

ALLAM: Yeah. Well, I'm here in Freedom Plaza, just a few blocks from the White House. And I don't know - the mic - if you'll be able to hear the ruckus (ph). It is - there's a few hundred people here, all supporters of President Trump under a variety of different banners. I guess sort of the umbrella, sort of unifying message is the stop the steal mantra, the belief that the election was rigged.

SIMON: Hannah.

ALLAM: Yes.

SIMON: OK, we're finding it a little hard to hear you. Just to make certain, if you can, to talk directly into the speaker, if you can.

ALLAM: Sure, sure.

SIMON: Sorry to give a professional advice like that.

ALLAM: (Laughter) Well, it's a wild day.

SIMON: Yeah.

ALLAM: It's a...

SIMON: Do you see any counterprotesters?

ALLAM: No, not where I am. I know that there are planned counterprotests. But really, where I am, this is just Trump supporters. I mean, law enforcement are stationed here. There are several streets closed off. I mean, you know, the goal is to keep those sort of groups, you know, separate and so they're - you know, lessen the potential for a clash. So, no, right where I am, it's pretty festive. It's definitely all sort of Trump supporters, a mix of kind of, you know, ordinary families and - you know, bringing their children, their flags, et cetera.

SIMON: Yeah.

ALLAM: And then you do have some fringe groups. You know, the Proud Boys are here. I saw some white nationalists, some Confederate flags, so - and, you know, QAnon slogans as well - the conspiracy theory QAnon. So it is - it's kind of the same mix that we've seen at lockdown protests throughout this summer. And, you know, they activated those same channels and are getting people out for this.

SIMON: What do you hear from people?

ALLAM: It really is sort of the overarching, we want all the votes counted, the - sort of the rejection of the results, the rejection of the, you know, the idea that Biden won the election. So that's the main message. And then there - you know, there's a variety, like I said, of sort of fringe issues and groups here as well.

SIMON: Hannah, and I have to ask 'cause there was some video showing caravans of some people coming for the rally who seem to be bearing arms, and I don't mean rolling up their sleeves, but obviously weapons, have you seen anything like that?

ALLAM: Right.

SIMON: That would be against the law in D.C. in any case.

ALLAM: That's right. And, I mean, D.C. is a hard place for that kind of rally that we've seen in other cities. This is not their turf. You know, they're not allowed to carry guns. And so, no, it's a very peaceful scene. And I think, you know, there are some groups that are coming sort of kitted up with body armor and things like that, but no. For now, it's peaceful. People are still coming.

SIMON: Thank you very much, Hannah Allam, covering the Million MAGA March. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Hannah Allam is a Washington-based national security correspondent for NPR, focusing on homegrown extremism. Before joining NPR, she was a national correspondent at BuzzFeed News, covering U.S. Muslims and other issues of race, religion and culture. Allam previously reported for McClatchy, spending a decade overseas as bureau chief in Baghdad during the Iraq war and in Cairo during the Arab Spring rebellions. She moved to Washington in 2012 to cover foreign policy, then in 2015 began a yearlong series documenting rising hostility toward Islam in America. Her coverage of Islam in the United States won three national religion reporting awards in 2018 and 2019. Allam was part of McClatchy teams that won an Overseas Press Club award for exposing death squads in Iraq and a Polk Award for reporting on the Syrian conflict. She was a 2009 Nieman fellow at Harvard and currently serves on the board of the International Women's Media Foundation.