National Guard Requested to Help Capitol Police During September 18 Rally

The Washington D.C. Capitol Police have asked the National Guard for security assistance on September 18, the date of the "Justice for J6" rally.

Rally attendees will demonstrate in support of over 500 people arrested for allegedly participating in the January 6 Capitol riots. The rioters were supporters of former President Donald Trump seeking to stop Congress from certifying his loss in the 2020 election.

The J6 rally's organizer, Matt Braynard, a former campaign strategist for Republican President Donald Trump, called the arrestees "political prisoners" and "brave patriots." He told WTTG that he expects about 700 attendees at the September 18 rally.

It's unclear how many National Guard troops the Capitol Police have requested, or in what capacity the troops may support the police, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday. National Guard troops often provide crowd control assistance and can defend themselves against physical threats, Military Times reported. But unlike the police, they have no power to arrest people.

Typically a state's governor submits requests asking for the National Guard's assistance. However, since the District of Columbia isn't a state, the police and other local agencies must make their requests through the Department of Defense.

National Guard Capitol Police J6 rally Capitol
The D.C. Capitol Police have asked the National Guard for security assistance on September 18, the date of the Justice for J6 rally. In this photo, National Guard soldiers are issued their M4 rifles and live ammunition on the east front of the U.S. Capitol on January 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty

The Associated Press reported that the rally may be attended by members of armed right-wing groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. However, the Proud Boys denied that their members will be involved. At least 25 Proud Boys have been arrested in connection with the January 6 riots, Forbes reported.

"We are here to protect everyone's First Amendment right to peacefully protest," Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in a statement on Monday, just five days before the planned event. "I urge anyone who is thinking about causing trouble to stay home. We will enforce the law and not tolerate violence."

On Monday, Manger said the Capitol Police briefed congressional leaders on the intelligence they've gathered about the rally as well as the department's operational plan for the day of the event.

The Capitol Police Board also approved the installation of temporary security fencing around the Capitol Building. The fence will be erected a day or two before the event and will come down soon after, if there's no violence during the rally, Manger added.

Last week, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said, "We intend to have the integrity of the Capitol be intact," when asked about the J6 rally during a press conference.

Newsweek contacted the Department of Defense for comment.