Demonstration for the imprisoned rioters of the Capitol: the police are ready this time

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Sprinklers shoot jets of water along the National Mall as the sun rises behind the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

PA

Previously burned, Capitol Police said they were taking no chances as they prepared for a rally on Saturday at the U.S. Capitol in support of rioters jailed after the violent Jan.6 insurgency.

While the scale of the rally is unclear, Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department are fully active in an effort to avoid a repeat of the attack leading up to the inauguration. Under-prepared police were overwhelmed as hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump burst onto Capitol Hill and halt Joe Biden’s certification of victory.

Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger told a press conference on Friday that it was difficult to say whether threats of violence at the event were credible, but he said the “gossip” online and elsewhere was similar to information missed in January.

A permit for the demonstration allows 700 people. Manger said he believed the most likely possibility of violence on Saturday would involve clashes between protesters and any counter-protesters who might come forward.

“We are not going to tolerate violence and we will not tolerate any criminal behavior of any kind,” Manger said. “The American public and members of Congress expect us to protect the Capitol. And I have no doubts that the plan we put in place will meet that expectation.

After multiple missteps in January, the police are complete. The fence around the Capitol has been raised, temporarily. Police are bracing for the possibility that some protesters will arrive with weapons. The DC Police Department is ready and the United States Capitol Police have requested assistance from nearby law enforcement agencies.

The rally, organized by former Trump campaign strategist Matt Braynard, aims to support those arrested after the Jan.6 uprising – about 60 people being held behind bars of the more than 600 indicted in the deadly riot. This is the latest attempt to downplay and deny the January violence.

Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on a House committee investigating the January attacks, said he supports aggressive law enforcement efforts.

“I hope law enforcement overreaction is actually the thing that can keep this from getting out of hand,” Kinzinger said in an interview Thursday. He predicted that people will criticize the effort if the protest is small and non-violent, “but that’s what has to happen because January 6 was obviously an under-reaction and it escalated.”

Intelligence gathered before Saturday’s rally suggested that extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers would show up. But some prominent members of the groups swore they weren’t going and told others not to attend. Far-right online chatter has been generally tamed, with Republican lawmakers downplaying the event.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request for around 100 members of the DC National Guard to be stationed at a town armory near the Capitol, to be called in as needed as backup for others. law enforcement agencies. They will mainly protect the Capitol building and the Congress offices. They will be without firearms, but will be equipped with batons and protective vests for self-defense.

Meanwhile, a Homeland Security Intelligence report warned of social media posts that discussed the possibility of a Capitol storming the day before the rally. One user also “commented on the kidnapping of an identified member of Congress,” the document said, although the lawmaker was not identified by name in the report. No lawmaker was to be in the building on Saturday because Congress is out of session.

“Other references to the violence identified on social media include discussions of using the rally to target local Jewish institutions, elected officials and ‘liberal churches’,” the intelligence report said.

Many commentators on popular far-right online platforms like Telegram disavowed the rally, saying they believed law enforcement was promoting the event to trap Trump supporters. Some urged supporters not to attend what they called a “false flag” event that they believed was secretly organized by the FBI.

At the same time, however, some commentators continued to promote the rallies scheduled for Saturday in cities and state capitals across the country.

In a notice to House members this week, Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker urged lawmakers to stay away from the Capitol complex on Saturday. And lawmakers who backed Trump’s efforts to reverse his electoral defeat have distanced themselves from the event.

“I don’t know what it is,” said Texas Senator Ted Cruz, when asked about the rally.

Trump still uses his platform as the most popular GOP leader to express his sympathy to those who have been arrested and to continue to spread election misinformation. In a statement Thursday, he said, “Our hearts and minds are with those so unjustly persecuted in connection with the January 6 protest over the rigged presidential election.”

The Associated Press examined hundreds of court and jail records for Capitol Riot defendants to find out how many were being held and found about 60 inmates in federal custody awaiting trial or hearing. sentencing. Federal authorities are still on the lookout for other suspects who may also end up behind bars. As recently as Friday, a judge ordered pre-trial detention of a Pennsylvania woman who claims the court has no jurisdiction over her.

At least 30 are imprisoned in Washington. The others are locked up in establishments across the country. They said they were being treated unfairly, and one defendant said he was beaten.

Federal authorities have identified several of those detained as leaders, members or associates of extremist groups, including nine accused linked to the Proud Boys and three linked to the anti-government Oath Keepers. Dozens of people are accused of plotting to organize coordinated attacks on the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote of 2020, one of the most serious charges.

Some jailed defendants are accused of assaulting police officers, others of uttering violent threats. A few were released after their arrest but subsequently detained again on charges of violating the conditions of release.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has set standards that judges must apply in deciding whether or not to jail an accused of the Capitol Riot. A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled in March that rioters accused of assaulting officers, smashing windows, doors and barricades, or playing a leading role in the attack were in “a different category of dangerousness “from those who simply encouraged violence or entered the building after it was breached.


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