WASHINGTON— Congressional security officials have approved the reinstallation of a temporary fence around the Capitol as they prepare for a Saturday rally in defense of the rioters who stormed the building on Jan. 6.
The Capitol Police said in a statement that officials are “aware of concerning online chatter” about the demonstration. While it is still unclear how large the rally will be and whether members of domestic extremist groups will attend, security officials say they will be ready if there is unrest. They want to avoid the mistakes of Jan. 6, when officers were unprepared for the siege and were overwhelmed by former President Donald Trump’s supporters.
Police are preparing for potential violent clashes at Saturday’s rally and planning for the possibility that protesters may arrive with weapons, according to three people familiar with the preparations.
Officers are monitoring hotel bookings, flights, car rental reservations and buses being chartered to bring groups into Washington.
Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said in a statement that his force “will enforce the law and not tolerate violence.”
The announcement came hours after Manger and other security officials briefed congressional leaders on the preparations and the plans for a temporary fence, which were first reported Thursday by The Associated Press.
Leaving the meeting, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he felt law enforcement is “ready for whatever might happen” on Saturday.
“I believe that they are well prepared, thorough, professional, and I think they are better prepared than people were before January 6,” Schumer said.