‘Justice for J6’: All you need to know about September 18 rally in Washington

Thousands of Donald Trump's supporters, some associated with ultra-nationalist and white supremacist groups, stormed the US legislature on January 6 this year in an effort to overturn President Joe Biden's election victory.
The US Capitol is seen behind security fencing on September 17 in Washington, DC. Security has been increased in preparation for the Justice for J6 rally.(AFP Photo)
The US Capitol is seen behind security fencing on September 17 in Washington, DC. Security has been increased in preparation for the Justice for J6 rally.(AFP Photo)
Published on Sep 18, 2021 11:51 AM IST
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By | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Washington is on high alert ahead of a rally in support of the pro-Trump rioters who ransacked the US Capitol on January 6. Compared to that time, the security forces are better prepared to avoid a repeat of the mayhem.

The rally is scheduled to take place on Saturday. Sean Gallagher, acting assistant chief for the Capitol Police's uniformed operations, said that authorities are expecting "a peaceful event this weekend" but the security apparatus is ready "to handle anything that occurs".

Since it's a Saturday, members of Congress will not be in the building; many are still on summer recess and won't be back in town until next week.

Who is organising the rally?

The "Justice for J6" rally is being organised by Look Ahead America, a non-profit organisation led by Matt Braynard, who worked as an analyst for the Republican Party.

Braynard started the non-profit after he was dismissed by Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, but his fortunes changed after Trump's 2020 loss. He joined an aggrieved group of Trump allies seeking to overturn the election - and in the process reaped recognition, lucrative fees and fundraising windfall.

The group is planning to organise similar rallies across the country in the coming weeks. It has appealed to the attendees to show respect to law enforcement officers and refrain from bringing Donald Trump banners.

How many protesters are expected to attend the rally?

Though there are no exact numbers, the police say that organisers have obtained a permit for 700 protesters. The officers, however, are prepared a larger turnout.

"What we're concerned about, I think more than anything, is the possibility of counter-demonstrators making it to this demonstration and there being violence between those two groups," Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger told reporters.

What are the security arrangements?

A black fence that surrounded the complex for six months after the deadly riot has been put back up for the weekend along with surveillance cameras.

The National Guard has 100 officers standing ready to act as a "physical security task force" backing up the Capitol Police and local law enforcement if requested.

Capitol Police warned in a news conference there had been "some threats of violence," with a counter-rally scheduled to take place nearby.

What happened on January 6, 2021?

Thousands of Trump's supporters, some associated with ultra-nationalist and white supremacist groups, stormed the US legislature that day in an effort to overturn President Joe Biden's election victory.

Around 600 have been charged, including at least 185 accused of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers or employees and more than 70 indicted for destruction or theft of government property.

A rioter was shot dead by police as she tried to breach the Senate. Officials say the mob assaulted 140 officers, with damage to the Capitol complex estimated at $1.5 million.

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