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U.S. Capitol Police brace for potential repeat of pro-Trump rally violence

FILE PHOTO: Pro-Trump protesters storm into the U.S. Capitol during clashes with police, during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

The U.S. Capitol Police is increasing security in preparation for potential violence at a Sept. 18 rally in which followers of former President Donald Trump intend to show support for people arrested after the deadly January attack on the Capitol, according to a statement and an internal memo on Wednesday.

Department Chief Tom Manger will provide a security briefing to top lawmakers on Monday about the rally, a source familiar with the meeting said. The source said U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has invited U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy to the briefing.

“We have a robust security posture planned for September 18th,” the U.S. Capitol Police statement said. “All available staff will be working.”

Inflamed Trump supporters stormed the Senate side of the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, after the president’s rally.Credit…Jason Andrew for The New York Times

Citing an internal Capitol Police memo, CNN reported on Wednesday that law enforcement officials are bracing for potential clashes and unrest during the rally after seeing a noticeable uptick in violent rhetoric around the event on social media and discussion boards.

Capitol Police did not respond to request for comment on the CNN report.

The “Justice for J6” rally, planned for the area around the U.S. Capitol, is intended to protest the treatment of the more than 600 people arrested for participating in the Jan. 6 siege of the building. Mobs of supporters of then-President Trump stormed the building while Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s November election win.

The demonstration is being organized by Look Ahead America, a nonprofit led by Matt Braynard, who worked on Trump’s presidential campaign.

The Jan. 6 attack was the worst violence at the Capitol since the British invasion during the War of 1812.

Four people died on the day of the violence, one shot to death by police and the other three of natural causes. A Capitol Police officer who had been attacked by protesters died the following day. Four police officers who took part in the defense of the Capitol later took their own lives.

By Jan Wolfe | Reuters

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