September 18 Rally Organizer Dismisses Fears of Violence As D.C. Police Ramp up Presence

The organizer of a rally at the U.S. Capitol demanding "justice" for suspects charged in connection with the January 6 riots has dismissed fears that violence could erupt again in Washington, D.C.

On Saturday, September 18, the Capitol building is set to face its biggest security test since January, with hundreds of people expected at the right-wing "Justice for J6" demonstration calling for the "political prisoners" to be freed.

Authorities are on high alert following intelligence reports and "concerning online chatter" suggesting extremist groups are planning to cause violence.

According to a Department of Homeland Security bulletin to law enforcement, seen by CBS and CNN, individuals online have discussed storming the Capitol building the night before the rally, as well as targeting "local Jewish institutions, elected officials, and 'liberal churches.'"

In a statement to Newsweek, the organizer of the demonstration, Matt Braynard, insisted that the rally would "100 percent" be a peaceful event and only aims to show support for the nonviolent offenders from January 6 who have been charged.

"We favor lawful prosecution and speedy trials for anyone who did commit violence on January 6 and condemn their actions," said Braynard, a former Donald Trump campaign worker.

"We are cooperating completely with multiple different police forces to ensure that everyone is safe. Anyone with the intent of committing violence has no business at our rally. Violence is completely contrary to the mission and values of Look Ahead America."

Braynard has previously urged people planning to attend the rally not to wear or bring political paraphernalia, including clothing or banners supportive of Trump or President Joe Biden. The organizers have also asked attendees to film people who are "causing trouble" in order to help prevent any violence.

A number of extremist groups and figures have said they have no intention of attending the rally on Saturday, claiming the event is a "false flag" to ensnare them or blame them if violence does erupt.

The Proud Boys group, which has several members charged in connection with the January 6 riots, described the rally as "bait" on Telegram.

"If you rally in D.C. right now, you're an idiot and you're going to get people thrown in jail or worse," the group said.

Trump, who was impeached for a second time after being accused of inciting his supporters to attack the Capitol on January 6, has made similar remarks about the September 18 demonstration.

"On Saturday, that's a setup," Trump told The Federalist. "If people don't show up they'll say, 'Oh, it's a lack of spirit.' And if people do show up, they'll be harassed."

Ahead of the rally, Capitol Police have erected a security fence around the building, as well as asking the National Guard to be on standby.

The Metropolitan Police Department has also confirmed it is "fully prepared" for September 18.

"As with all First Amendment demonstrations, MPD will be monitoring and assessing the activities and planning accordingly with our federal law enforcement partners," a spokesperson told Newsweek.

"MPD will have an increased presence around the city where demonstrations will be taking place and will be prepared to make street closures for public safety."

Matt Braynard justice for J6
Matt Braynard (L) helps artist Tommy Zegan wheel his statue of Donald Trump to a van during the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 27 in Orlando, Florida. Braynard says the "Justice for J6" rally aims only to show support for nonviolent suspects charged over the Capitol riots. Joe Raedle/Getty Images