U.S. Capitol Police will have the backing of the National Guard to secure the nation’s capital for a protest planned on Saturday even as former President Donald Trump warned his supporters to avoid it.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved 100 Guardsmen from the D.C. National Guard to reinforce the security efforts at the Capitol.
The demonstration on Saturday has been characterized by many in the media as another opportunity for violence similar to the rioting on Jan. 6 when some of Trump’s supporters attempted to stop the certification of the 2020 election.
More than 600 people have been arrested and charged for the Jan. 6 rioting.
Others have pointed out that the Saturday protest doesn’t appear to have the same support among Trump fans, many of whom suspect the event is a trap by the FBI to arrest far right firgures.
Trump himself has floated the idea in an interview with the Federalist.
“On Saturday, that’s a setup,” the former president said. “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.”
Even the organizer of the protest, Matt Braynard, has called on protesters to avoid wearing pro-Trump shirts or bringing pro-Trump flags. The former Trump campaign staffer says the demonstration has nothing to do with any candidate or any election.
“Anyone not honoring this request will be assumed to be an infiltrator and we will take your picture, find out who you are, and make you famous,” he tweeted.
The Capitol Police is not taking any chances.
“We are here to protect everyone’s First Amendment fight to peacefully protest,” said Chief Tom Manger in a statement days ahead of the protest. “I urge anyone who is thinking about causing trouble to stay home. We will enforce the law and not tolerate violence.”
The police re-installed a fence around the capitol and said they have improved their technology, training and equipment since Jan. 6.
CNN reported that an intelligence report documented about 500 people who said they would be at the protest Saturday.
Here’s more about the Sept.18 protest:
[embedded content] Police ready for right-wing rally at US Captiol www.youtube.com