DC to bring back fencing ahead of potentially violent support rally for Jan 6 rioters
The heavy fortifications that lined the streets around the US Capitol after the January 6 insurrection are likely to come back, sources have confirmed. The Capitol Police Board is expected to approve the recommendation as Washington DC braces for a 'Justice for J6' protest on September 18. Other security measures are also likely after concerns have been raised in recent days about the planned rally.
The rally is being planned to protest against the arrest and prosecution of those involved in the insurrection. As we have reported, over 500 individuals have been arrested by the FBI and DoJ for their involvement that day, with many more still yet to be brought to justice. 17 of those accused are currently in limbo after their lawyer John Pierce went missing last week with the DoJ noting that the cases could not continue without him. Others like Infowars host Owen Shroyer have turned to the public to support their defense while refusing to apologize for their actions that day.
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The riots have led many participants to lose their jobs, such as Seattle PD cops Caitlin and Alexander Everett. Such reactions, along with the fury over Ashi Babbitt's shooter not being prosecuted have left many conservatives furious. The 'Justice for J6' rally is intended to showcase their anger, leading to questions of just how far they will go. If the warnings are to be believed, things could get pretty extreme.
Will DC be attacked again?
A week ago, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe warned that security officials should "should take it very seriously." He noted that the rally has a huge potential to turn violent, with more people expected to descend into DC on the day. The rally is being organized by a former Trump staffer Matt Banyard, who said he expected "several thousand" people to show up. Earlier, Banyard was clear there would be no violence, but after January 6, security officials seem keen to exercise caution.
Intelligence suggests groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys could show up for the rally, armed with weapons just as they were on January 6. It is their presence that has got security concerned because "while members and associates make up just a fraction of the nearly 600 people who have been charged so far, they are facing some of the most serious charges brought," as the Associated Press reported.
Also keeping officials on edge is the series of near-attacks in the city that have occurred of late. On January 5, unexploded pipe bombs were found near the Capitol, and a suspect is yet to be found or charged over that incident. Recently, a man parked a truck near the Library of Congress and claimed he had a bomb. Given the high levels of alert, it appears the DC and Capitol Police are going all-out to avoid another January 6 style attack.
Plans for September 18
AP and POLITICO were the first to break the news of the plans to protect the city. For one, the fencing will go back up as the first line of defense. The Capitol Police has already requested fencing go up, and AP reported that the board is likely to approve that request. The fencing is expected to go up around the Capitol and Supreme Court, but not around the congressional office buildings nearby.
POLITICO added that Congressional officials have also started to prepare for risks, but what exactly those preparations are, has not yet been made clear. Capitol Police chief Thomas Manger has already briefed Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the House Administration Committee, but the decisions are yet to be made final. Reportedly, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will chair a meeting on September 13 with Congressional leadership to further confirm the measures.
Pelosi earlier hinted at the measures, during a press conference on September 8. "We intend to have the integrity of the Capitol be intact," she said but did not offer more information. The Capitol Police have also not publicly declared what their plans are. Details of the fencing were made aware to the media by sources inside the Capitol. While some Republicans are expected to object, others appear to be ok with the plans. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton told AP, "I would hope that we wouldn’t have to fence in the Capitol every time there’s a demonstration." She added, "If they go with the fence, I’m not going to criticize them."
More details are expected after the September 13 meeting, and possibly a public revelation a few days prior to the rally. It's unclear as of now if the National Guard will also be called in, but Norton did say "the preparations are certainly going to be more than they were on Jan 6." If we are to believe her, it is possible the Guard could be back on the streets as well.