Updated Sep 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Smaller than expected "Justice for J6" rally met with large police presence

Police officers watch as demonstrators gather for the "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, DC, on September 18, 2021,
Police officers watch as demonstrators gather for the "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18, 2021. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

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.

The latest: Four people were arrested at the rally, including one person with a gun, one with a knife and two with outstanding warrants, per the U.S. Capitol Police.

  • 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.

Go deeper: Senate offices closing ahead of "Justice for J6" demonstration

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new details throughout.

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