Conservative protesters drawn to Washington for rallies supporting President Trump’s refusal to accept the presidential election results were confronted by activists and surrounded by police Friday as the nation’s capital prepares for a potentially tense weekend of protest.

Dozens of Trump supporters in red “Make America Great Again” hats and no masks squared off with masked D.C. activists who arrived to defend art and protest signs on the fence surrounding Lafayette Square — the center of months of racial justice protests. They shouted, holding up their phones to record the interaction for their respective audiences on social media, then dispersed as police officers on bicycles circled the plaza.

“As I look at this scene right now, I can’t help but to think how much this is truly the personification of two Americas,” a Black Lives Matter D.C. activist observed as she filmed the scene.

Small confrontations were ongoing into the evening near the White House, and D.C. police appeared to make a small number of arrests. Protesters from both sides were, at different points, led by officers as onlookers filmed. D.C. officials did not respond to a request for comment Friday evening.

The president called Saturday’s rallies — which have been promoted by far-right media personalities, white nationalists and conspiracy theorists — “heartwarming” in a tweet Friday afternoon.

“I may even try to stop by and say hello,” Trump wrote.

The rallies, including a Women for America First event that received a permit Friday from the National Park Service, are expected to kick off about noon at Freedom Plaza. “Million MAGA March,” “March for Trump” and “Stop the Steal” demonstrations are also planned.

Counterdemonstrations organized by D.C. anti-fascist and anti-racist groups will gather nearby.

According to the lone permit the Park Service issued, pro-Trump demonstrators will march from Freedom Plaza to the Supreme Court on Saturday afternoon. Rallygoers will hear from speakers that include lawmakers; former White House aide Sebastian Gorka; Trump ally Matt Schlapp, who is chairman of the American Conservative Union; and incoming Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has backed QAnon, a baseless conspiracy theory that Trump is leading the fight against a cabal of Satan-worshiping saboteurs who traffic children.

Organizers originally had estimated about 50 attendees, but in Friday’s permit, the Park Service wrote the group would be allowed up to 10,000.

Friday’s confrontations at Black Lives Matter Plaza marked the second time in many months that self-identified Trump supporters had torn down photographs from a memorial honoring Black men and women killed by police.

“It’s horrible because it’s a memorial to the people who died and who didn’t get justice, and so to see them stepping on it and being careless about it, it’s just frustrating,” Nadine Seiler, 55, said.

This week, Seiler said, she had spent time “quadruple zip-tying” the most meaningful artwork onto the chain-link fence to prevent it from being removed.

Colleen Bowland, 64, joined a crowd of demonstrators as they confronted the pro-Trump crowd. She waved a sign that read, “No Allegiance to Trump,” and yelled from beneath two layered face masks, imploring Trump’s supporters to cover their faces amid spiking coronavirus infection rates in the D.C. region and around the country.

Although none of the rallies’ organizers announced plans to gather at Black Lives Matter Plaza on Saturday, the square has become a flash point for those who oppose Trump and those seeking to make a stand against D.C.’s liberal activists.

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) has said D.C. officials are monitoring social media chatter around the events and will support “peaceful First Amendment demonstrations.” The mayor warned out-of-town visitors against bringing firearms to the city, noting it has stricter firearm laws than other parts of the country.

Videos of a caravan of gun-toting demonstrators led by Infowars founder and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones began to circulate on social media late Thursday as the group made its way through Richmond.

Christoper R. Barron, a spokesman for the Women for America First march, said the group will “welcome all peaceful protesters in support of President Trump” but does not condone violence. Barron declined to comment on the simultaneous pro-Trump rallies planned for Saturday because, he said, organizers were not involved in planning those.

The rallies have garnered support from Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller as well as more fringe figures, including Enrique Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys; white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes, who marched in the deadly Charlottesville protest; and Jack Posobiec, who promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy that led to a 2016 shooting at D.C. pizzeria Comet Ping Pong.

A number of streets will be closed beginning 6 a.m. Saturday to accommodate the protests.

Constitution Avenue will be closed between 18th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. On the other side of the Mall, Independence Avenue will be closed from 14th Street to Ohio Avenue SW. Several main thoroughfares, including New York Avenue and G, H, I and K streets, will be shut down from 9th Street NW to 18th Street NW.

Peter Hermann contributed to this report.