Capitol Police estimates that there was between 400 and 450 people during the demonstration in support of the rioters jailed after the violent insurrection of January 6. Although the number of people was widely exceeded by the press and the authorities, according to media such as AP, Axios and ABC.
At the beginning of the act, there were some altercations and at least four people were arrested, one of them for carrying a firearm and another for carrying a knife, police said.
The USCP also stopped a vehicle along Louisiana Ave. this morning and subsequently arrested two people for felony extraditable warrants out of Texas. One was for Possession of a Firearm. The other was for a probation violation.
So far, the USCP is reporting a total of 4 arrests.
— U.S. Capitol Police (@CapitolPolice) September 18, 2021
The event took place in a field far from the Capitol surrounded by heavy trucks. Authorities, including the District of Columbia police and the National Guard, prevented a repeat of the January attack.
Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said at a news conference Friday that it was difficult to say whether the threats of violence for Saturday’s event were credible, but that the “conversations” online and elsewhere were similar. to the information that was lost in January.
The permit to protest allows the presence of 700 people. Manger assured that most likely there would be clashes between protesters and counter-protesters. The police were also prepared in case some protesters arrived with weapons.
On that day when supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an effort to interrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory as president, the authorities expected only a protest for freedom of expression, not such an aggressive day like the one there was.
This saturday morning Police were already working to separate the handful of Trump supporters and critics who had arrived hours before the rally began.
Hundreds of agents were brought into the city and were preparing in a staging area as large garbage trucks and cement barricades lined the streets around the Capitol, outside the fenced area.
The rally, organized by former Trump campaign employee Matt Braynard, aimed to support the people who were detained after the insurrection of January 6, about 63 that are behind bars of the more than 600 accused in the deadly revolt.
Extremist groups such as the Proud Boys y Oath Keepers acudan al evento. Although some prominent members of these groups swore they would not go and asked others not to attend.
The far-right online conversations were generally subdued, and Republican lawmakers downplayed the event.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved a request for some 100 members of the Washington DC National Guard to be posted to an armory in the city near the Capitol to be called in if necessary as reinforcements.
They mainly protected the Capitol building and the Congress offices but did not carry firearms although they were equipped with batons and protective vests.
Congress is out of session and no legislator was expected to be in the building on Saturday. Biden is in Delaware this weekend.
Many commentators on online platforms such as Telegram who are popular with the far-right disavowed the rally, saying they believed law enforcement officials were promoting the event to trap Trump supporters. Some urged their followers not to attend an event that they claimed was secretly organized by the FBI.
However, others continued to promote rallies in cities and state capitals across the country.
Trump for his part continues to use his platform as the most popular leader of the Republican Party to express his sympathy for the detainees and continue to spread electoral hoaxes. “Our hearts and minds go out to the people who are being so unjustly persecuted in connection with the January 6 protest in connection with the rigged presidential elections,” he said in a statement Thursday.
With information from AP.