San Francisco police are preparing for a potential pro-Trump protest at Twitter’s headquarters on Tuesday, despite the fact that most Twitter employees are currently working from home due to the covid-19 pandemic. The protest, which is being organised online at the website TheDonald.win and in private Facebook groups, was sparked by Trump’s recent ban from the social media platform.
San Francisco PD declined to give information about how many people are expected at the protest and it’s unclear whether authorities expect the kind of violence that Trump’s neo-fascist supporters are known for, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the first outlet to report the news.
“The San Francisco Police Department is aware of the possibility of a demonstration on the 1300 block of Market Street (Twitter) tomorrow, Monday January 11, 2021. SFPD has been in contact with representatives from Twitter. We will have sufficient resources available to respond to any demonstrations as well as calls for service citywide,” the police department told Techcrunch late Sunday.
“The San Francisco Police Department is committed to facilitating the public’s right to First Amendment expressions of free speech. We ask that everyone exercising their First Amendment rights be considerate, respectful, and mindful of the safety of others.”
Commenters on the pro-Trump site TheDonald.win encouraged protesters to bring megaphones, eye protection, and “BIG zip ties” to “citizen arrest violent agitators” and “ANTIFA.” Users on the site, which used to be hosted by Reddit before it was banned, also encouraged protesters to wear masks to avoid being identified.
Trump was permanently banned from Twitter after he incited a mob of his followers to storm the U.S. Capitol on January 7, the day that Congress was attempting to certify the presidential election results for Joe Biden. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, were killed in the chaos. A second officer who defended the capitol later died by suicide, though it’s not clear if his decision to end his life had anything to do with the coup attempt.
Zip ties were also seen at the January 7 coup attempt, where multiple news organisations have reported Trump’s goons likely wanted to take hostages and execute politicians. One man who brought zip ties to the Capitol last week, identified as Eric Gavelek Munchel, was arrested by the FBI on Sunday, according to BuzzFeed News, though he’s only being charged with disorderly conduct, entering a restricted building, and “violent entry.”
It’s unlikely that many Twitter employees will be at the San Francisco headquarters given the covid-19 pandemic, but many users on TheDonald.win expressed a desire to lash out at Twitter in public over Trump’s ban.
“This time identify and zip tie the Antifa infiltrators please,” one user wrote.
“Get in there [sic] faces, be rude, make them squirm,” another said.
“The time to be nice ended today. That didn’t work,” a user concurred.
“Maybe the hq should be burned down when everyone goes home,” another poster said.
One user who noted that most employees would be at home and far away from Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters encouraged potential protesters to stage something at CEO Jack Dorsey’s house, but there’s no guarantee that Dorsey is even home right now. The Twitter cofounder was overseas in French Polynesia when the decision to finally ban Trump finally came down, according to the New York Times.
Trump is expected to make some kind of announcement on Monday about his ban from social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, though the White House hasn’t released a time. Obviously the president doesn’t need a social media account to reach the masses and can step in front of a camera anytime he likes, but Trump cultivated his following on Twitter long before he took office and probably sees it as a personal insult.
The potential for violence is always present at a pro-Trump event, but things seem especially dangerous now that Trump has been as explicit as possible about wanting his supporters to rise up against the democratically elected president who’s scheduled to take office on January 20. Trump had previously taken a “wink wink, nudge nudge” approach to inciting violence in his name, but his followers are clearly too dumb to pick up on subtlety.
Trump finally told the amassed crowd on January 6 that he would lead the march to the Capitol, something he didn’t do, but it got his dumbass voters to finally stage the violence he was clearly looking for. The only question remains is whether he can try to do it again.