Mall Closes After Pro-Trump Extremist Group Confuses It With Courthouse Targeted for Protest

Extremist right-wing groups in support of President Donald Trump mistakenly called for an armed rally at an Alaska shopping center—and not at the similarly named courthouse by the state Capitol building nearly 900 miles away.

The far-right Tree of Liberty and Boogaloo Boys websites scheduled protests for the upcoming weekend to challenge President-elect Joe Biden's election victory over Trump, similar to the ultimately violent U.S. Capitol riots last Wednesday. But organizers confused the Dimond Center Mall in Anchorage with the Dimond Courthouse in Juneau, the state's capital. The "Refuse to be Silenced" rally plans in support of Trump on January 17 prompted the mall to announce it will be shut down on that same day.

Dimond Center Mall general manager Bob Dye told the Alaska Landmine publication Saturday that he was made aware of the potential armed protest over the weekend, at which point he contacted both the Anchorage Police Department and federal authorities.

Fears of yet another deadly riot like the one that took place at Trump's behest in the nation's capital last week have kept mall administrators on alert. Memes and social media posts circulated by the pro-Trump extremist groups are calling for an "armed march on Capitol Hill and all state capitols" ahead of Biden's January 20 inauguration.

"The thing is, who in a million years would have ever expected to see Capitol Hill breached and...five or six people killed? You know, it's really because of that event that we took this much more seriously," Dye said. "It's...what's the saying? Fortune favors the prepared. And I'd much rather have gone through the effort than ignored it and had a serious or even catastrophic event at the mall had we discounted this and not pursued it."

The mall is still waiting for official confirmation from law enforcement that the far-right militia groups mistakenly planned demonstrations at the mall instead of at the courthouse. The mall announced Sunday that it planned to close its indoor shopping area as well as its parking lots over concerns of the armed, peaceful protest plans discovered online.

The mall's address is at 800 E. Dimond Boulevard in Anchorage, the state's largest city. The Dimond Courthouse, which is located across the street from the Alaska State Capitol Building, is hundreds of miles away in Juneau, the state's capital. Both are named for members of the same family. The mall is named after Anthony Dimond, an Alaska delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives who died in 1953. The courthouse adjacent to the Capitol is named after his son, late Alaska Supreme Court Justice John Dimond, who died in 1985.

As the Alaska Landmine pointed out in a Monday report, the Tree of Liberty website for the far-right group has not published any update to the planned location for the protest. However, one top comment on the post cautions, "Pretty sure the capital to Alaska is in Juneau."

Newsweek reached out to Anchorage police and mall administrators for additional remarks Tuesday.

dimond mall anchorage protest capitol
Extremist right-wing groups in support of President Donald Trump mistakenly called for an armed rally at the Dimond Center Mall in Anchorage, Alaska (shown above)—and not at a similarly named courthouse nearly 600 miles away. Screenshot: Google Maps