Security fencing and barriers were erected around the United States Capitol late Wednesday ahead of a planned far-right rally in support of the rioters who were arrested during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger confirmed earlier this week that the fencing would go back up earlier this week ahead of the so-called "Justice for J6" rally, which intends to protest the arrest of the individuals who stormed the Capitol to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden's win in the 2020 presidential election.
"We are here to protect everyone's First Amendment right to peacefully protest," Manger said in a statement Monday. "I urge anyone who is thinking about causing trouble to stay home. We will enforce the law and not tolerate violence."
Former president Donald Trump has continued to espouse false claims of widespread election fraud since the 2020 election. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, a statement backed up by a number of officials in both administrations, including Trump's own attorney general William Barr.
According to a Department of Homeland Security official, roughly 700 people are expected to attend the rally, a far cry from the estimated "tens of thousands" that attended the Trump rally on Jan. 6 which immediately preceded the violent uprising.
Melissa Smislova, Deputy Undersecretary for Intelligence Enterprise Readiness at DHS, said that they are estimating crowd size based on publicly available information such as hotel reservations and permit applications for large gatherings.
Smislova also said that similar protests are expected in other cities around thhe country, and noted that officials anticipate protestors with other issues could show up as well to demonstrate against those concerns.
"Anything that is controversial," Smislova said. "It can be vaccines, it can be the election. All of the extremist groups are trying to be divisive. We also may have foreign aligned groups, foreigners that are going to try to amplify some of these narratives."
The Capitol Police has also asked the Pentagon to make the National Guard available if needed for support.
"The USCP has asked the Department of Defense for the ability to receive National Guard support should the need arise on September 18," the department wrote in a Twitter post.