Capitol Hill Police are gearing up for this Saturday’s “Justice For J6” rally, and they have given legislators and their staff simple advice, stay away from the Capitol. On Tuesday, House Sergeant at Arms William Walker sent out a memo that went to both chambers of Congress. It read, “Unless required to be onsite, Members and staff are strongly encouraged to avoid the U.S. Capitol Complex on September 18th.”
The “Justice For J6” rally is a protest of the treatment that hundreds of people who were arrested following the riots on January 6 have received at the hands of the federal government.
NEW: House sergeant-at-arms says to steer clear of the Capitol during "Justice for J6" rally.
"Unless required to be onsite, Members and staff are strongly encouraged to avoid the U.S. Capitol complex on Sept. 18th."
Also says use the tunnels instead of walking outside: pic.twitter.com/93CyDVV7zz
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) September 14, 2021
No Jan. 6 Repeats
Walker urged congressional members and their staff that if they absolutely needed to be at the Capitol building, to park in underground garages and use the underground tunnel system beneath the Capitol to get inside.
The seven-foot high fence that was installed after Jan. 6 but recently removed will go back up again as well.
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The admonition not to be near the Capitol is one step among many being taken to ensure that Saturday’s gathering will not devolve into a repeat of January 6, when pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building to protest the certification of the 2020 presidential election they believed was ripe with fraud.
Roughly 140 police officers were injured, one protester, Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed and one officer died as a result of natural causes a day later. In the months since the riot, four officers have committed suicide.
U.S. Capitol Police to erect temporary fencing ahead of "Justice for J6" rally https://t.co/cgjZyPViyH
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) September 14, 2021
Security Changes Being Made
There are several changes that have occurred since January 6. In the aftermath of the riot, the head of the Capitol Hill Police and the Sergeant at Arms of both chambers of Congress resigned.
Walker and new Capitol Hill Police Chief Tom Manger briefed congressional leaders of both parties on Monday. In addition, the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) also says it is ready for any unruliness at the Capitol.
MPD Chief Robert Contee stated, “MPD will have an increased presence around the city where demonstrations will be taking place and will be prepared to make street closures for public safety.”
— The Hill (@thehill) September 14, 2021
Organizers Also Preparing For ‘Justice For J6’ Rally
Organizers also do not want a repeat of Jan. 6. Former Trump campaign staffer and organizer of Saturday’s rally, Matt Braynard, has asked that all attendees refrain from wearing or carrying anything Trump or Biden related.
Braynard said of those attending the rally, “We request that anybody attending our events not wear any clothing or have signs supportive of either President Trump or Biden. Anyone not honoring this request will be assumed to be an infiltrator and we will take your picture, find out who you are, and make you famous.”
According to the Associated Press, groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers plan to attend the rally.
Newsweek reports that Capitol Hill Police are monitoring online chatter, as well as hotel bookings, flights, car rental reservations, and buses being chartered in order to bring groups to Washington for the “Justice For J6” rally.
We wrote a letter. They ignored us.
We went to the DOJ. They ignored us.
We went to the prison. They ignored us.
We went to the UN. They ignored us.
— Matt Braynard (@MattBraynard) September 12, 2021
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