Security preparations underway at US Capitol ahead of rally for jailed rioters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday angrily criticized plans for a Sept. 18 rally in support of those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and said appropriate security preparations will be in place.

Pelosi said lawmakers are getting briefed on security plans as the day of the rally approaches.

“We intend to have the integrity of the Capitol be intact,” she said, declining to go into specifics about what steps are being taken.

When afked if temporary fencing will be installed around the Capitol, as it was after Jan. 6, Pelosi said “not necessarily.”

Pelosi also made it clear she is upset by the prospect of people rallying in support of those who were willing to battle for hours with U.S. Capitol Police officers and sought to harm lawmakers.

“Now these people are coming back to praise the people who were out to kill — out to kill members of Congress,” she said.

Federal officials have indicated they expect members of far right groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers to be among those who attend the rally, which organizers say is an effort to demand “justice” for the hundreds of people who have been arrested for their participation in the riot at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger recently issued a statement saying his department is “closely monitoring Sept. 18 and we are planning accordingly.”

D.C. police issued a similar statement, noting officers will have an increased presence around the city.

The rally, called “Justice for J6,” is expected to be held on the west side of the Capitol.

The west side of the Capitol was where some of the fiercest struggles between rioters and law enforcement took place on Jan. 6. A federal prosecutor has indicated in court documents that close to 1,000 assaults on law enforcement occurred.

Despite widespread video evidence of confrontations, several Republican lawmakers have sought to downplay what happened in January, as members of Congress and former Vice President Mike Pence tried to certify the Electoral College results from the 2020 presidential election.

“When they made the assault on the building that was one thing, but the fact is they also made an assault on the Constitution of the United States,” Pelosi said.

Last month, a man threatened to blow himself up in his pickup truck in front of the Library of Congress, which is across the street from the Capitol.

That led to a massive security response before the man gave himself up, after rambling about a variety of issues while live streaming on Facebook.

Pelosi said she hopes over the long term that the Capitol grounds can remain open to the public.

“We want to return the Capitol to a place where people can come, children can learn, families can celebrate together the greatness of our country,” she said.

Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

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