Hundreds of police officers will be on duty around the US Capitol braced for a rally by supporters of those who breached the building on January 6 trying to overturn former president Donald Trump’s election defeat.
A black 2.5-metre fence which surrounded the white-domed building for about six months after the attack is back, 100 National Guard troops are on stand-by and security officials are performing additional checks on travellers arriving at Washington’s nearest airport in an effort to prevent violence.
Organisers of the “Justice for J6” rally said they expected a peaceful event. However US Capitol Police Chief J Thomas Manger told reporters on Friday “there have been some threats of violence” linked to the event, where police would work to avoid clashes between Trump supporters and opponents.
More than 600 people have been charged with taking part in the January 6 violence, which followed a speech by Trump reiterating claims that his election loss to Democratic President Joe Biden was the result of widespread fraud.
Those claims have been rejected by multiple courts, state election officials and members of Trump’s own administration.
Rioters that day battled police, beating them with sticks and metal barricades, smashed their way through windows into the Capitol building and ran through the halls, sending lawmakers and vice-president Mike Pence running for safety.
Deaths and more deaths
Four people died that day, an unarmed woman shot dead by police and three from medical emergencies.
A Capitol police officer who had been attacked by protesters died the day after and four police officers who took part in the defence of the Capitol later took their own lives.
Almost 50 people have so far pleaded guilty to charges related to the violence, nine admitting to committing felonies.
The vast majority of defendants have been released awaiting trial but about 75 are still in custody, according to court documents.
Members of the right-wing groups the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters are among those charged with storming the building.
“It’s ironic that the rallying cries justice for January 6th. I think justice for January 6th would have been the impeachment and removal of Donald Trump,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the January 6 violence, in an interview with MSNBC.
Trump was ultimately acquitted by the then-Republican-controlled Senate.
Matt Braynard, a supporter of Trump’s election-fraud claims who is organising the rally, said he hoped it would lead to the release of people charged with taking part in the events of January 6.
“What we really want to do is put a spotlight on the mistreatment of these individuals and encourage federal legislators to demand the Department of Justice deliver real justice to these people. And that means, in many cases, dropping charges,” Braynard said in an interview on C-SPAN.