DC Law Enforcement Says It Would Be 'Foolish' Not To Prep For 'Justice For J6'

The nation's capital is on high alert ahead of a planned rally in support of hundreds of people who have been arrested in the wake of the violent rally at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 that attempted to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden's election.

"I think we would be foolish not to take seriously the intelligence that we have at our disposal," United States Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger told reporters on Friday. "We are hearing some chatter."

The demonstration, dubbed "Justice for J6", is scheduled to take place outside the U.S. Capitol on Saturday. Organizers argued that the rioters were expressing their First Amendment rights and should not be held in prison. Organizers have also told Newsweek and other media outlets that they are working to discourage any violent outbursts during their protest.

D.C. authorities, who were shocked by the violence on January 6 have been preparing in case things take a turn.

"This is as good a time as any to practice this model," Manger said. "This won't be the last time we have this kind of preparation for this type of event."

There is less of a threat to the country's top officials Saturday than there was in January. Biden is in Delaware for the weekend, and Congress is not in session. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in England, and Vice President Kamala Harris has no events currently on her public schedule. The vice president's home is more than 5 miles away from the Capitol building where the latest protest is to take place.

The Capitol and the U.S. Supreme Court building, which is located across the street are frequent targets for protest, but the January 6 insurrection has brought new attention to how safe the area is. A security fence has been erected around the Capitol ahead of this weekend.

District Police Chief Robert Contee told reporters his office is preparing for "First Amendment activities" happening on Saturday, but noted that D.C. will have several public events in the area, including the popular H. Street Festival and sporting events, necessitating increased police presence throughout.

"We are prepared," he said.

Then-President Donald Trump, who refused to concede the election to Biden and claimed without evidence that the election had been "rigged," held a rally near the White House on January 6, and after that rally, his supporters trekked nearly two miles to the U.S. Capitol to try to thwart the certification of Biden's election.

Then-Vice President Mike Pence and key lawmakers, including U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, had to be whisked to safe rooms as rioters stormed the Capitol.

Trump, who has remained the de facto leader of the GOP, sent a message this week ahead of the latest demonstration in support of the January 6 rioters, saying "Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election. In addition to everything else, it has proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice. In the end, however, JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!"

Many House Republicans have backed Trump in his baseless election claim that led to his second impeachment. Trump was not convicted in the GOP-controlled Senate on either impeachment charge.

DC law enforcement prepares for September 18
The U.S. Capitol stands behind security fencing on September 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. Security in Washington, DC been increased in preparation for the Justice for J6 Rally, a rally happening this weekend in Washington for support for those who rioted at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 to protest the 2020 presidential election outcome. Drew Angerer/Getty Images