Heavy police presence as protesters trickle in for Capitol rally

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Under the shadow of a strong capitol, a few hundred protesters turned up for a rally on Saturday to support those accused in the January riots, but the media and heavy police presence outnumbered them.

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With hundreds of officers being brought to Washington in an effort to avoid a repeat of the pre-inauguration attack, US Capitol police were taking no chances. The fence around the Capitol was turned back, the city police force was fully activated and the Capitol Police requested assistance from the National Guard.

There was some scuffle as soon as the rally started and one person was arrested for carrying a knife, but initially there was no major incident, police said. Still, concerned about the prospect of violent demonstrators and protestors, law enforcement officials stayed on edge. Police were also preparing for the possibility that some protesters might come with weapons, although backpacks were allowed in the area and there were no checkpoints.


The rally was ringed by heavy dump trucks and took place in the fields not far from the Capitol building. Law enforcement officers geared up in one of the staging areas and metal barricades were put up around the streets. Inside the Capitol, police riot shields were placed near doors and windows, a significant difference from January, when officers inside were left without riot equipment and were quickly overwhelmed when the crowd entered.

Persistent attempts to rewrite the story of January 6’s violence and panic, and the growing instability behind the lies that stole the 2020 election, have made it impossible to predict what might happen this weekend. After all, law enforcement was only expecting a free speech protest the day Trump supporters attacked the Capitol in an attempt to obstruct the authentication of Joe Biden’s victory.

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Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said at a news conference Friday that it was difficult to say whether the threats of violence at the incident were credible, but the “chatter” online and elsewhere is similar to intelligence that was missed in January.

The rally, organized by former Trump campaign staffer Matt Brainard, aims to support those who were detained after the January 6 uprising – nearly 63 of the more than 600 accused in the deadly riots behind bars Was. It is the latest attempt to downplay and deny the January violence. In an MSNBC interview, he underestimated the number in attendance, saying that media coverage of the incident helped get the message out.

Intelligence gathered before the rally suggested that extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers would emerge. But some prominent members of the groups have sworn they are not leaving and told others not to join. Far-right online chattering has generally been prevalent, and Republican lawmakers are downplaying the phenomenon.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved a request to deploy approximately 100 members of the DC National Guard to a city armory near the Capitol to be called in as backup if necessary. They would be without firearms, but equipped with batons and protective vests for self-defense.

The Congress is out of session and no MP was expected to be in the building on Saturday. Biden was in Delaware over the weekend.

Several commentators on online platforms such as Telegram disapproved of the rally, saying they believed law enforcement was promoting the event to implicate Trump supporters. Some urged their followers not to attend an event secretly organized by the FBI.

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

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, still the most popular leader in the GOP, was using his platform to express sympathy for those who were arrested and continued to spread election misinformation as the weeks went on. being, intensified their attacks.

The Associated Press reviewed hundreds of court and prison records for Capitol riot defendants to find out how many were detained and about 63 held in federal custody awaiting trial or sentencing. Were were Federal officials are still looking for other suspects who could also go behind bars.

At least 30 are jailed in Washington. The rest are locked in facilities across the country. He has said he was being treated unfairly, and a defendant said he was beaten.

Federal officials have identified several of the detainees as leaders, members or associates of the extremist group, including nine defendants linked to the Proud Boys and three with anti-government pledges. Dozens are accused of conspiring to conduct a coordinated attack on the Capitol to prevent Congress from authenticating the 2020 Electoral College vote, one of the most serious charges.

Some of the jailed defendants are accused of assaulting police officers, others of making violent threats. Some were freed after their arrests, but were later detained again on charges of violating the terms of the release.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sets standards for judges to determine whether to send a Capitol riot defendant to prison. A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled in March that the rioters charged with assaulting officers, smashing windows, doors and barricades, or taking a leadership role in the attack were more “dangerous” than those only in a different category of “, who were simply happy. Violence following a breach or entering a building.

But it is not clear how the cases of most of the accused will end. On Friday, a California woman who joined the crowd avoided a prison sentence when a federal judge sentenced her to probation, a result that was consistent with an early pattern in January 6 riots lawsuits.

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