If your Independence Day plans take you to Washington, DC, know that the Department of Homeland Security is keeping its eyes open for the possibility of violence.

According to Yahoo! News, the Department of Homeland Security is reporting that a militia rally might be taking place on Capitol Hill on July 4th, 2021. This information comes from its surveillance of an online social media platform where they witnessed talk of a rally, and the question of whether "toys" were allowed was raised. ("Toys", in this instance, referring to weapons.)

The discussion, according to the story, was between 4 members of a militia group, and it was on an encrypted site, so there was not much information for the DHS to go on.

The story goes on to say that hotel and bus reservations are actually down about 30 percent, which might indicate that there won't be a gathering, but authorities say they will be ready, regardless.

There are 11 events that have obtained the required permits to occur over the Independence Day Weekend in Washington, DC, but none of them were named  "Million Man Patriots Gathering", the rally referenced on the social media posts mentioned above.

Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Capitol Police, FBI, DHS, and the Transportation Security Administration are trying to work more closely together since the January 6th insurrection on the Capitol Building that led to the deaths of 5 people, including a Capitol Police officer. The organizations were criticized for not sharing information which, some believe, would have helped diffuse the insurrection.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

If you are planning to travel to Washington, DC this weekend and you are not a member of a militia group, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Know where the nearest exits are
  • Bring an external battery for your cell phone
  • Avoid large crowds if it appears that they are becoming agitated
  • Don't get caught up in the "mob mentality"; think for yourself
  • Remember that battery on a police officer or federal official (or any human being) is a crime

Have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!

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