Explained: Significance of March 4 behind ‘possible plot’ to breach US Capitol
- The House of Representatives moved a planned vote from Thursday to Wednesday night to avoid being in session on March 4.
Security has been beefed up around the US Capitol after police, citing intelligence, warned about a possible plot by a militia group to attack it on Thursday. The Capitol Police put out a statement on Wednesday, saying they are aware of potential threats towards members of Congress and the Capitol building and have already made significant security upgrades to ensure the protection of “Congress, the public and our police officers.”
“We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4,” the Capitol Police said.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had earlier released a bulletin to warn about an unidentified group of "militia violent extremists" who had discussed plans to “take control of the US Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers on or about March 4.” In the wake of a possible plot by extremists to breach the US Capitol, the House of Representatives moved a planned vote from Thursday to Wednesday night to avoid being in session on March 4.
Significance of March 4
Many members of the “sovereign citizens”, a group of people who believe that they are not subject to any government rules or proceedings, believe that the United States turned into a corporation after a law was enacted in 1871. According to them, Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th US president, was the last legal American commander-in-chief, and some followers of QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory propagators, share those unfounded beliefs.
Prior to 1937, US presidents were inaugurated in early March, so the date gained significance among “sovereign citizens" and subsequently among QAnon followers. Michele Anne Tittler, one of the most prominent voices of QAnon, had recently laid out the plan in a TikTok video, claiming Trump will be sworn in as the 19th president of the United States on March 4 “under the restored republic.”
“This nation hasn’t existed since 1871 when this country ceased to be a nation and became a corporation belonging to the City of London. Every time you see an American flag with a gold fringe attached to it, it represents the corporation, not the country,” she said.
The FBI has described the sovereign citizen movement as "domestic terrorism" in the US. They have often flagged such groups for holding illegal courts that issue warrants for judges and police officers and clogging up the court system with “frivolous lawsuits and liens against public officials to harass them.”
(With inputs from Reuters)