U.S. Capitol Police said on Wednesday they had asked the Pentagon to release the National Guard if necessary for an upcoming rally in support of the deadly Jan.6 offensive.
The department said in a tweet that it had “requested the possibility of securing National Guard support from the Department of Defense” during Saturday’s protests.
Two sources told NBC News on Wednesday that the announcement came hours before construction of a fence around the Capitol began. NBC reports that the installation will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET.
About 700 people are expected to attend a “Justice for J6” rally hosted by a pre-campaign staff member for former President Donald Trump, a Department of Homeland Security official said outside the United States Capitol.
On January 6, the Capitol was overrun by Trump supporters, who forced a joint session of Congress into hiding, temporarily derailing President Joe Biden’s confirmation of the Electoral College’s victory. Capitol policemen defending Congress have since communicated to the crowd their intention to block Biden’s election.
The USCP’s internal watchdog has called for sweeping changes to the department due to the failure to secure the Capitol from hordes of pro-Trump rioters.
The USCP said in a press release on Monday that it was “aware of the online discussions” surrounding the rally, and the Capitol Police Council had approved a plan to temporarily erect a fence around the Capitol. The board of directors also issued a declaration of emergency that would allow the USCP to replace outside law enforcement officers.
“I urge anyone who is considering causing trouble to stay home. We will enforce the law and will not tolerate violence, ”Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in this press release.
Rally organizer Matt Brainard told CNBC in an email that “there is no risk of violence [from] Our peaceful demonstration.
More than 600 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol bombing, and dozens have already been convicted.
The attempt to re-qualify the Jan. 6 rioters as “political prisoners” by the participants in the rally that followed, as well as some members of Congress, follows other attempts by the political right to downplay the attack. In May, for example, Representative Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., Claimed that January 6 was not a rebellion but a “normal tourist trip.”
“I think they are much better prepared than before,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DNY said on Monday after Manger informed him and other congressional leaders of the rally. .
The rally follows other incidents committed by the actors alone in recent weeks. Police arrested a man who allegedly had knives in a pickup truck emblazoned with a swastika on Monday outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters.
Police arrested another man last month who parked his van outside the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill, claiming he had a bomb.