A rally scheduled at the Capitol on Saturday in support of individuals arrested in connection to the January 6 riot is expected to be peaceful, but local law enforcement is prepared for potential unrest after observing threats of violence on social media.
The rally, organized by the Look Ahead America group supporting former President Donald Trump, intends to bring public attention and support to some 600 arrested, kept in detention and charged with crimes in relation to the January 6 events at the Capitol. The rally is expected to gather about 700 people.
The rally is scheduled to run from noon to 1:15 p.m. EST (5:15 p.m. GMT), according to the organizer’s website.
Three counter-protest demonstrations will take place on Saturday as well in Washington, but local authorities have put plans in place to keep the groups apart from the “Justice for J6” rally.
“We are planning for a safe event tomorrow but there have been threats of violence associated with the events for tomorrow and we have a strong plan in place to ensure that it remains peaceful, and if violence does occur, that we can stop it as quickly as possible,” Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said during a press conference on Friday.
Manger said they are unsure about whether the online threats of violence are credible but they are taking no chances in light of the January 6 siege of the Capitol building.
The Pentagon on Friday approved the Capitol Police’s request to deploy 100 unarmed National Guard troops to the Capitol complex.
Local law enforcement officials said that over the last several weeks, they prepared contingency plans designed to immediately defuse any violence that may erupt on Saturday. There will be an increased number of police officers working throughout the city through the day, officials added.