WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol is once again surrounded by a security fence and this time it was put up in anticipation of Saturday’s rally in support of the people arrested in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
The fence was first put up after the Jan. 6 attack and was taken down several months later.
Our Washington News Bureau spoke with Matt Braynard, the Executive Director of a group called ‘Look Ahead America” which organized the ‘Justice for J6’ rally.
“We’re going to be a completely peaceful crowd,” said Braynard. “The people are coming to exercise their first amendment rights on behalf of these political prisoners.”
In March the head of the FBI used a very different word to describe the suspects -- he told members of Congress the attack was domestic terrorism.
“That attack, that siege, was criminal behavior plain and simple and it’s behavior that we, the FBI, view as domestic terrorism,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in his March testimony.
Still, Braynard said the protesters coming out this weekend believe the Jan. 6 suspects have been targeted for their political beliefs.
“These people are having the book thrown at them and having them turned into domestic terrorists with their faces up on billboards being treated like it’s America’s Most Wanted,” said Braynard.
The FBI has arrested more than 640 people so far.
The charges have ranged from disorderly conduct and obstruction of Congress to assault on officers.
More than 100 officers were hurt in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
In July, four veteran police officers testified before Congress about being beaten by the mob.
“I heard, get his gun,” said Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone in his July testimony. “Kill him with his own gun.”
We asked Braynard about concerns about the safety of officers ahead of this weekend’s rally.
“They have nothing to fear from our crowd,” said Braynard. “There’s not going to be any violence from us. There’s not going to be any disorder.”
The U.S. Capitol Police Department said it is preparing in case back-up is needed for the rally and said in a statement: “The USCP has asked the Department of Defense for the ability to receive National Guard support should the need arise on September 18.”
The Justice for J6 rally in Washington isn’t the only planned.
There are several State Capitol rallies also planned for this weekend and in the coming weeks.
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