Washington, DC – The fence around the U.S. Capitol complex that was erected after the Capitol riot will be put back up ahead of the Sept. 18 rally in support of the rioters who were arrested on Jan. 6, and law enforcement officials have promised lawmakers there will not be another breach of the U.S. Capitol building.
The “Justice for J6” 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.
U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Chief Thomas 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.
Chief Manger confirmed to reporters after the meeting that the fence that had been erected in January after the breach of the U.S. Capitol building would be put back up a day or two before the Justice for J6 rally.
“If everything goes well, it will come down very soon after,” the new police chief, who replaced Capitol Police leadership who resigned in disgrace after Jan. 6, promised.
The fence raised huge controversy between Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and area residents strongly objected to the restriction from the Capitol lawn that had always served as a community playground, park, and sledding hill.
It was finally taken down after months of bickering.
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 Boy shave 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, Newsweek reported.
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.
Former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said law enforcement needed to up their game for the Justice for J6 protesters.
“I think they should take it very seriously. In fact, they should take it more seriously than they took the same sort of intelligence that they likely saw on January 5,” McCabe told CNN.
The briefing for senior Congressional leadership on Sept. 13 was held just hours after Capitol Police arrested a 44-year-old man with a bayonet and a machete outside Democratic National Committee headquarters, according to The Hill.
Capitol Police said the man was driving a truck covered in white supremacist slogans and that he told officers he was “on patrol” when they stopped him.