Up to 700 people are expected to attend Saturday’s “Justice for D6” rally in Washington, DC, in support of those whoJanuary 6 – a number significantly lower than the “tens of thousands” who came that day to protest the result of the 2020 presidential election.
Melissa Smislova, Deputy Under Secretary for Intelligence Enterprise Readiness, said Tuesday: “We have learned a lot since January 6”. The senior intelligence official, who was appearing at the Homeland Security Enterprise Forum, noted that DHS “tracks hotel bookings across the United States” to assess attendance at more than a dozen rallies orchestrated by “Look Ahead. America, “the organization behind” Justice for J6 “led by a former Trump campaign staff member from 2016.
Smislova told reporters that around 500 people have RSVP for the event.
Nonetheless, law enforcement and internal security officials predict that protesters with other grievances could also show up on Saturday, co-opting the event to promote their own issues.
“All that is controversial. It can be vaccines, it can be the election. All extremist groups are trying to divide. We can also have groups aligned abroad, foreigners who will try to amplify some of these stories. “Smislova told reporters.
U.S. Capitol Police erect temporary fence around the Capitol in anticipation of Saturday. The Capitol Police Board has already issued a declaration of emergency that will take effect on the day of the protest, allowing the department to replace outside law enforcement officers as special US Capitol Police officers.
An interior perimeter thatafter the January 6 attack was shot in July.
“We are here to protect everyone’s right to the First Amendment to protest peacefully,” US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in a statement on Monday. “I urge anyone who thinks of causing trouble to stay home. We will enforce the law and not tolerate violence.”
Capitol Police held planning meetings for the protest throughout August, including with members of Congress.
, far-right groups, including the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, plan to attend the rally, according to sources close to intelligence.
Several Republican lawmakers spoke at the Jan.6 rally supporting former President Trump, and some were invited to attend the rally this weekend in Washington. So far, Reps Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene have said they don’t plan to attend, but several others have yet to disclose their plans.
Zak Hudak contributed to this report.