Smaller than expected "Justice for J6" rally met with large police presence
A few hundred demonstrators were met by a heavy law enforcement presence on Saturday at the "Justice for J6" rally outside the fenced-off U.S. Capitol, AP reports.
- About 400 to 450 people were inside the protest area, excluding law enforcement, Capitol Police said.
Driving the news: Media and police officers — from the U.S. Capitol Police and D.C.'s police department — vastly outnumbered the demonstrators in attendance, according to AP.
- Former Trump campaign staffer and rally organizer Matt Braynard opened the rally, asking for a round of applause for police officers.
State of play: Security preparations ramped up ahead of the pro-Trump demonstration, where hundreds of protesters were expected to show support for individuals arrested for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6.
- Security fencing around the Capitol was reinstalled and multiple congressional offices closed ahead of the rally.
- Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved a request from Capitol Police to provide 100 D.C. National Guard troops in case law enforcement requires additional support.
- A permit for the rally allowed 700 people, but police were concerned that some demonstrators could arrive with weapons, per AP.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new details throughout.