Capitol police

Crews Install Fencing Around US Capitol Ahead of Saturday Rally

A rally in support of Capitol riot defendants is planned for Saturday in D.C. and multiple law enforcement agencies say they'll have "all hands on deck"

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Tall, black fences reinforced with concrete barriers are encircling the U.S. Capitol, a key security measure before a rally that has law enforcement on high alert.

The Justice for J6 rally is planned for Saturday outside the Capitol. The rally is in support of the rioters who violently stormed the building on Jan. 6.

Trucks carrying concrete barriers and tall fences began to arrive Wednesday evening and crews worked to complete installation Thursday morning.

U.S. Capitol Police is requesting the help of the National Guard if tensions rise during Saturday’s rally, and crews will begin putting the fence back up around the Capitol starting Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. News4’s Scott MacFarlane reports on the enhanced security.

The fencing is set to stretch down Constitution Avenue, First Street and Independence Avenue, blocking off the Capitol building and grounds. Numerous streets will be closed and parking restrictions will be in place, D.C. police said.

"I'm hoping it's only temporary," one resident said. "Normally, we have protests all the time. So, that's usual for here. [Jan. 6] took it to a whole other level."

The District and its law enforcement agencies are on edge after Jan. 6 and multiple scares near the Capitol since — including a car and knife attack that left a Capitol Police officer dead, a bomb threat and, most recently, the arrest of a man carrying a machete and bayonet near the Democratic National Headquarters.

Local officials are employing advanced security measures ahead of the rally, including the fence and a large presence of law enforcement agents.

D.C. and Capitol police say they will have “all hands on deck.” Capitol Police announced Wednesday it asked the DOD for the help of the National Guard if tensions rise.

"As we look across social media, there are calls on some of the disparate sites for folks to come armed. We’ve seen that before on a lot of our other events. So, this is reminding folks that come to the District what our laws are here and that, you know, you can't carry a gun here," D.C. Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Chris Geldart told News4 on Tuesday.

Rally organizers say they want to show support for hundreds of people arrested in connection with the Capitol riot, but don’t want violence.

“Anybody that violates those guidelines, we just assume is there to cause trouble,” organizer Matt Braynard said. “We will alert the Capitol Police to them, we have our own diplomatic security team.”

The threat of protesters bringing guns to Saturday's protest at the U.S. Capitol has D.C. police bracing for worst-case scenarios. News4’s Mark Segraves reports.

The Capitol Police Board approved a plan Monday to bring back the temporary fence around the Capitol.

Fencing was installed in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot and stayed up for months, but restricting access to “the People’s House” has been controversial among residents and visitors who use the grounds to get around D.C. or for recreation.

In July, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton cheered the removal of that fencing, calling it an “enormous victory for D.C. residents.”

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said the new fencing could be removed soon after the rally, but the timing is dependent on the security situation.

A man with multiple knives was arrested near Democratic National Committee headquarters days before fencing will once again surround the Capitol complex. People who supported the Jan. 6 insurrection plan to rally there on Saturday. News4's Pat Collins reports on Capitol Police's plans.
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