Authorities will be on high alert Thursday over a QAnon conspiracy theory prediction, but according to experts, chances of violence appear minimal compared to the deadly insurrection on Jan. 6.
Some segments of the convoluted theory’s community have been claiming for months that former President Trump will return to the White House on March 4, which was the date of presidential inaugurations up until 1933.
While belief that Thursday would mark the triumphant return of QAnon’s figurehead had been building, some influential figures in the community have recently turned back on that prediction.
Influencers backing down from the “real inauguration” theory is especially important, since they have gained more sway in the community after the shadowy “Q” figure stopped posting on image boards in December.
Brian Friedberg, a senior researcher at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, told The Hill that some QAnon adherents are now “skeptical as to origins or validity of [the] theory.”
“Some believe any public gatherings on the 4th to be a trap set for MAGA folk by the MSM/Deep State to draw them out,” he added in an email, referring to the mainstream media.
Even if some QAnon supporters still think that Trump will reassume office, there’s little to suggest they will act on that belief.
“We haven’t seen anything to suggest that there’s any physical, real world mobilization behind that chatter,” Jared Holt, a visiting research fellow at the Digital Forensic Research Lab, told The Hill.
A memo from the top security official overseeing the House shared with lawmakers this week echoes that the significance of March 4 has “reportedly declined amongst various groups in recent days.”
Capitol Police at this time “has no indication that groups will travel to Washington D.C. to protest or commit acts of violence,” acting Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett said in the memo.
Authorities are exercising caution regardless given that QAnon supporters were involved in the Jan. 6 riot and the theory has been deemed a national security threat by the FBI.
Capitol Police will have additional personnel deployed around the Capitol Thursday, according to Blodgett’s memo, and the National Guard will continue supporting local officers.
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