Capitol Fencing to Return Before Pro-Rioter Rally

Police increase preparations to prevent another riot
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2021 6:20 PM CDT
Fencing Around Capitol to Return by Saturday
The US Capitol dome is seen beyond a perimeter security fence at sunrise in Washington in March. The fencing is going back up this week.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Security officials have stepped up their preparation for the rally planned for Saturday in support of the rioters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6. The temporary fencing around the building that was taken down over the summer will be back up by then, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said Monday, after the police board gave its approval. Provided "everything goes well," he said, the fencing will come down again quickly, CNN reports. And congressional leaders have been briefed. It's part of security officials' effort to be better prepared than they were for the insurrection in January, per the AP. Capitol police "will enforce the law and not tolerate violence," Manger said in a statement.

Police don't know how many people to expect at the rally, but they say online talk about the event has become increasingly threatening. Some of it has referred to "justice" for the jailed rioters, as well as for Ashli Babbitt, a rioter who was shot to death by a Capitol Police officer. The officer has been cleared of wrongdoing, but officials worry that those motivated by her death could be planning violence this weekend, though an organizer has said the event will be peaceful. Lawmakers are not expected to be in the building over the weekend; Congress won't be in session, per the Washington Post.

Manger briefed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on the preparations Monday. "They are better prepared than people were before January 6th," Schumer said afterward. Pelosi said she "feels much better" now. Organizers of the "Justice for J6" event asked on their permit application to gather at Union Square, which is a park near the Capitol Reflecting Pool. "We will be using this time to make our voices heard in asking that all charges be dropped for nonviolent detainees and they be released from solitary confinement," the application says. (Read more Capitol riot stories.)

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