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U.S. Capitol on high alert as pro-Trump demonstrators converge for rally By Reuters


© Reuters. U.S. Capitol Police officer inspects the unscalable barrier around Capitol before Saturday’s expected protest in support the Jan.6 defendants. U.S. September 17th, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

By Jan Wolfe and David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hundreds of police officers will be on duty around the U.S. Capitol on Saturday braced for a rally by supporters of the hundreds of people who breached the building on Jan. 6 trying to overturn former President Donald Trump’s election defeat.

The black 8-foot (2.44m) high fence that surrounded the white-domed building has been removed. 100 National Guard troops have also returned to the scene. Security officials will be conducting additional screenings at Washington’s closest airport for travelers in an attempt to stop violence.

The “Justice for J6” rally organizers claimed that they anticipated a peaceful event. But, U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger stated to reporters Friday that “there were some threats to violence” in connection with the event. He said police would do their best to keep Trump supporters from clashing with his critics.

More than 600 were accused of taking part the violence on Jan. 6, which was in response to Trump’s false claim that the Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden lost his election because of fraud. Multiple courts and state election officials, as well as Trump’s administration members have rejected these claims.

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The day saw rioters beat police with metal bars and sticks, smash through windows and run through the Capitol Building. This sent lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence fleeing for their lives.

The day ended in four deaths, two from police shootings and three due to medical emergency. The day following the attack on the Capitol Police officer by protesters, a fourth police officer involved in the defense of Capitol committed suicide.

Nearly 50 individuals have pleaded guilty so far to violence-related charges, with nine others admitting to felonies. Court documents show that while the majority of defendants are now free to await trial, around 75 people remain behind bars.

The building was stormed by members of right-wing groups like the Proud Boys and OathKeepers.

It’s funny that January 6th is the day when people rally to demand justice. “I think January 6th justice would have been the Impeachment, and Removal of Donald Trump,” stated Representative Adman Kinzinger. Kinzinger was one of 10 House Republicans that voted to impeach Trump for inciting Jan. 6 violence.

Trump was ultimately acquitted by the then-Republican-controlled Senate.

Kinzinger declared, “It’s high time that we stopped as leaders or parties accepting these ideas of Oath Keepers. This is basically an organization that wants overthrow the government. That’s okay.”

Matt Braynard (a Trump-supporter who claimed that Trump lost because of fraud) said that the rally would allow for the release of those charged in connection with the Jan. 6 event.

What we want is to highlight the injustices of those involved and to encourage federal legislators that they demand justice from the Department of Justice. Braynard spoke on C-SPAN about the possibility of dropping charges in some cases.

Some of the participants in the riot posted pictures online, including some that were taken on Jan. 6, and hundreds of them have been charged. In the ongoing investigation into the perpetrators of the pipe bomb attacks on the Democratic and Republican national headquarters located near the Capitol in January 2005, no suspects have been found.

After he was discovered near the Capitol carrying large knives, a Californian man was taken into custody. According to court records, his truck had white supremacist symbols on it and he was known for making racist remarks when police approached him.

On Saturday, Congress will not be in session as it was on Jan. 6. However, most of the members are out of town.

Lloyd Austin, the Defense Secretary has ordered 100 National Guard troops to be on-hand in case of emergency. According to a spokesman, National Guard troops will not be armed with batons and can be called upon after all local, state, federal, and federal law enforcement resources have been checked.

From early January to late May, National Guard troops were located around Capitol with up to 5,200 soldiers at its peak.