Washington, DC – Two days after announcing the security fence would be installed around the Capitol complex again, U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Chief Thomas Manger requested assistance from the DC National Guard to help manage the “Justice for J6” rally on Saturday in support of the Capitol rioters who were arrested.
“We have received a request from Capitol Police for some assistance for this weekend’s protests, scheduled protests. I’m not going to detail the specific request,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed on Wednesday, according to CNN.
“We’re doing the analysis, we are in receipt of it, we’re analyzing it, and if it can be validated and supported, we’ll do that and we’ll look at the sourcing inside the department as to what’s most appropriate,” Kirby said.
He didn’t offer details of USCP’s request but said the protest planned for Sept. 18 “is not an exorbitant ask,” CNN reported.
Kirby said “it’s not of a particularly large size or major capability. I think it’s more in the form of some manpower support.”
On Monday when Chief Manger announced they would be re-erecting the controversial fence around the Capitol, he also said he had been in touch with military ahead of the protest.
“We have talked to the military and we have multiple agencies assisting. We cannot provide specifics as we do not want to give away security sensitive info,” USCP told CNN in a statement.
Law enforcement officials have promised lawmakers there will not be another breach of the U.S. Capitol building.
The planned protest is in support of the more than 600 people who have been arrested so far for their participation in the Capitol riot, Reuters reported.
Chief Manger briefed House and Senate leadership on Monday on his agency’s plans for managing the planned demonstration and the intelligence that had been gathered ahead of the protest.
Officials have no idea how widely attended the event may be and intelligence reports have been ambiguous, CNN reported.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) said after the meeting that he was confident there wouldn’t be a repeat of the January debacle, The Hill reported.
“They seemed very, very well prepared — much better prepared than before Jan. 6. I think they’re ready for whatever might happen,” Schumer said.
On Friday, Democratic leadership sounded the alarm about their concerns about the upcoming event that is expected to be attended by both Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, MSNBC reported.
However, the Proud Boys have denied that they are planning to have any presence, according to Newsweek.
“If you rally in DC right now, you’re an idiot and you’re going to get people thrown in jail or worse,” the Proud Boys said, according to Newsweek.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) characterized the Justice for J6 rally as “these people are coming back to praise the people who were out to kill. Out to kill members of Congress. Successfully causing the deaths… of our law enforcement.”
Ahead of the intelligence briefing, Pelosi agreed with Schumer’s assessment and said she thought Capitol Police were taking the upcoming rally more seriously than they had Jan. 6, The Hill reported.
“I think there’s much better preparation and knowledge about what to expect,” the speaker said. “I do observe much better communication.”
An intelligence report obtained by CNN said that online chatter indicated some participants are treating the Sept. 18 rally as a “Justice for Ashli Babbitt” protest.
The 35-year-old Babbitt was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer as she came through a broken window into the Capitol building.
Intelligence reports said that online chatter increased after U.S. Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd went public as the officer who had killed the unarmed Air Force veteran during the breach, according to CNN.
Lt. Byrd was cleared of federal charges in connection with Babbitt’s death in April, and exonerated by Capitol Police after an internal investigation.
Congressional sources said that Capitol Police had prepared differently for this event and were “working with Capitol region law enforcement partners and other law enforcement agencies.”
DC Metropolitan Police Department officials have also said their department will be fully activated for the event, CNN reported.