There is a growing number of concerns ahead of this weekend’s right-wing rally in the nation’s capital that critics fear will become another gathering place for violent white supremacists. Organized by Look Ahead America, a campaign initiative spearheaded by former President Donald Trump’s employee Matt Braynard, the so-called Justice for J6″ rally invites people to protest in support of the hundreds of treasonous insurrectionists criminally charged in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The rally is planned to be held near the U.S. Capitol, and lawmakers and authorities were planning ahead to ensure the Congressional building remains safe as well as to help quell the violence that might occur during the controversial event.
Here are a few more facts you should know about the upcoming right-wing rally.
When is it happening?
The “Justice for J6” rally is scheduled to start at noon ET on Saturday, Sept. 18, CNN reported. Around 500 people are expected to attend but the number still remains unclear according to intelligence briefings, the report notes.
What is Look Ahead America?
Look Ahead America is a nonprofit organization lead by former Trump staffer Matt Braynard. According to their website, the group is committed to standing up for patriotic Americans who have been forgotten by our government.”
CNN adds that Braynard told reporters that “Justice For J6” would be a “completely peaceful protest.”
“We have told people that when they come, we don’t want to see any messaging about the election, we don’t want to see any messaging on T-shirts and flags or signs about candidates or anything like that,” he added.
However, it appears as though some members of far-right extremist group the Proud Boys are encouraging followers to attend the event, while others have warned against going, noting that it might be a “false flag operation designed to trap supporters.”
What Is Law-Enforcement Doing To Prevent Violence At The Rally?
Law enforcement officials are preparing for the worst ahead of Saturday’s rally. Temporary fencing has been placed around the capitol to protect the coveted building and to prevent potential clashes and unrest during the event.
The Associated Press reported that there are been rumors that some of the protestors may be armed during the rally. In a statement on Sept. 13, Capitol police revealed that they had “issued an emergency declaration, which will go into effect about the time of the demonstration and allow the Department to deputize outside law enforcement officers as the United States Capitol Police Special Officers.”
Should We Be Worried?
According to an internal Capitol Police memo, violent rhetoric and a number of heated discussions have surged online after Capitol Police officer Lt. Michael Byrd identified himself as the shooter of Ashli Babbit, a rioter that scaled a broken part of a door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby in the Capitol during the January 6 insurrection. Byrd will not face charges for the incident, as he acted lawfully.
The document warns that some individuals may see September 18 as an opportunity to hold a “Justice for Ashli Babbitt” rally. There have also been rumblings of violence that could potentially occur against Jewish Centers and liberal churches to distract law enforcement on the day of the event.
Babbit’s Husband, Aaron Babbit, sent a message to protestors ahead of the rally calling for a peaceful protest.
“The last thing I want is violence occurring in my wife’s name. I don’t want it,” he explained during an interview with Fox News on September 13. “More bloodshed at this point is not going to do anything in terms of getting justice for Ashli.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said during a press conference that despite the troubling chatter, Capitol Police are “well prepared, thorough, professional, and I think they’re better prepared than people were before January 6.”