Here’s everything we know about the September 18th right-wing DC rally
However, it remains unclear how many protesters will attend. And the rally will be on a Saturday when both houses of Congress are on recess, which means there will be far fewer legislators or staff in the area.
US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger told reporters Friday that the department had a “strong plan” to ensure that the event “remains peaceful and that if violence does occur, we can stop it as soon as possible “.
The Justice for J6 rally aims to support the insurgents charged in the deadly Capitol Uprising on January 6th. Organizers say it is scheduled to start at 12:00 PM ET on Saturday.
Who are the organizers?
The rally is being planned by Look Ahead America, a nonprofit led by former Trump campaigner Matt Braynard. According to its website, the group “seeks to stand up for patriotic Americans forgotten by our government.” In interviews with CNN, Braynard insisted that the event will be peaceful and that “no one will bring a gun that will be part of our crowd”. Baynard has also encouraged attendees not to wear candidate or elective equipment. Still, at least one Proud Boys leader has encouraged supporters from across the country to show up, although others online have advised against participating and warned that it could be a false flag operation aimed at trapping supporters Curls.
Meanwhile, White Lives Matter is promoting global September 18 demonstrations and supporting the January 6 insurgents online, but has no DC chapter.
Who is expected
Manger said Friday that Capitol Police still don’t know how many people to expect, but organizers of the event have secured permits for 700 attendees in Washington.
Around 500 people have indicated they want to attend, despite a CNN-verified internal Capitol Police memo found that the recent events organized by Look Ahead America were significantly less attended than expected.
No incumbent member of Congress is scheduled to appear at the rally. But the speaker line-up includes two Republican congressional candidates – Mike Collins, who is running for a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, and Joe Kent, who wants to remove Washington State MP Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican who voted for impeachment against Trump Has.
The attorney, who represents the family of Ashli Babbitt, who died while participating in the Capitol riot, was also invited to speak, but has yet to confirm attendance according to the DHS mandate.
What do law enforcement expect?
According to an internal Capitol Police memo verified by CNN, law enforcement officials prepare for possible clashes and riots during the rally.
The intelligence report on the event notes that online chatter in support of the rally increased after the official who fatally shot Babbitt recently leaked his identity in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.
According to the memo, there was a noticeable surge in violent rhetoric surrounding the event and heated discussions about Babbitt’s filming on social media and discussion forums. The document warns that many people may view September 18 as a “Justice for Ashli Babbitt” rally, which may be cause for concern, and planning violent clashes is not unreasonable.
There was additional discussion of violence related to the event, with an online chat suggesting violence against Jewish centers and liberal churches while law enforcement is distracted that day.
In its intelligence letter on Thursday, the DHS warned of the potential for violence against those involved or opposed to the Justice for J6 rally, and said a “counter rally” would be held on the same day at Freedom Plaza in Washington. DC, which increases the potential for violence between perceived ideological opponents. “
The Capitol Police are aware of three separate groups that could potentially counter the protests on Saturday, Manger said on Friday, adding, “Two of the groups had no major history of violence, one of them had some clashes before.”
The DHS also warned of possible violence the day before the rally.
The department said an additional challenge to law enforcement is the likely use of encrypted or closed communication platforms by those seeking to engage in violence.
What security measures are in place?
Officials have taken steps to ensure there is a significant security presence and additional assistance available – unlike what happened before Jan. 6.
CNN has learned that the DC police force will be fully activated on Saturday and the DC National Guard will be ready to provide assistance in an emergency, a source familiar with security talks surrounding the event told CNN.
The US Capitol Police installed new temporary fences around the Capitol complex on the Wednesday evening before the rally.
Fences were erected around the Capitol following the January 6 riots, but these were reduced and removed over the summer.
Several road closures will go into effect around the Capitol and Constitution Avenue, with the possibility of additional temporary closures, DC Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee told reporters on Friday.
In addition, Capitol Police said in a statement Monday that their board of directors “issued an emergency statement that will come into effect at the time of the demonstration, allowing the department to represent outside law enforcement officers as special officers for the United States Capitol Police “.
“We want to reassure everyone that these are temporary measures to ensure everyone’s safety,” Manger said in the statement. “We are extremely grateful for the continued support we receive from the local community and our Congressional stakeholders in fulfilling our critical mission.”
The TSA is also stepping up security at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, urging travelers to see more security guards and K-9s at the airport over the weekend.
What does the legislator say about the safety precautions?
After Manger briefed the four leading congressional leaders about security preparations for the rally, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi told reporters that the planning “seems much better”.
But Pelosi also noted that she “has nothing to compare because we were not informed beforehand,” referring to the January 6 uprising. “So I can’t compare it to before, but … I’m sure we’ll be communicating all the time,” she added after leaving the briefing.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer similarly said he believed the Capitol Police were “well prepared, thorough, professional, and I think they are better prepared than the people before Jan 6”.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Melanie Zanona, Jessica Schneider, Whitney Wild, Geneva Sands, Zachary Cohen, Pete Muntean and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.