Washington – The leader of the far-right Proud Boys group has been arrested in Washington DC on suspicion of burning a Black Lives Matter flag last month.
Enrique Tarrio faces misdemeanour destruction of property charges, said police.
He has reportedly admitted torching a banner taken from a black church during a rally in December in the city.
President Donald Trump has been urging supporters to gather in the capital this week for another demonstration.
On Wednesday, members of Congress are due to certify Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory before he takes office on 20 January.
Tarrrio has said on the social media app Parler that the Proud Boys will “turn out in record numbers of Jan 6th”, referring to his members as “the most notorious group of extraordinary gentlemen”.
A Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson, Dustin Sternbeck said that Tarrio had been stopped in a vehicle shortly after it entered the district.
The 36-year-old was also found during his arrest to be unlawful possession of two devices that allow guns to hold additional bullets.
The destruction of property charge relates to a protest in Washington DC on 12 December in support of the outgoing Republican president’s unsubstantiated claims of systemic election fraud.