Far-right extremist groups including members of Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are planning to attend a September 18 rally at the US Capitol, planned in support of people facing legal actions following the January 6 riot.
The rally known as "Justice for J6" is planned for the Union Square plaza on the Capitol grounds, where the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial and Capitol reflecting pool are located.
Capitol Police Department "Closely Monitoring" the Rally
Lawmakers and law enforcement officers within Capitol Hill are discussing how to secure the Capitol grounds ahead of both the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and the planned rally, including possibly reinstalling temporary fencing that went up after the Jan. 6 insurrection, CNN reported.
Due to increased security concerns over the Metropolitan Police Department will activate its entire force for that day, WUSA9 reported.
Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger told the AP in a statement that police were monitoring the Sept. 18 event and "planning accordingly."
"After January 6, we made Department-wide changes to the way we gather and share intelligence internally and externally. I am confident the work we are doing now will make sure our officers have what they need to keep everyone safe," Manger told the Associated Press.
Serious Charges Against Members of Proud Boys and Oath Keepers
The planned presence of the extremist groups is concerning because, while members and associates of Oath Keepers and Proud Boys make up just a fraction of the nearly 600 people who have been charged so far in the riot, they are facing some of the most serious charges brought so far.
Those charges include allegations that they conspired to block the certification of President Joe Biden's victory. Several Oath Keepers have pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and are cooperating with investigators in the case against their fellow extremists, who authorities say came to Washington ready for violence and willing to do whatever it took to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote.
Rally Spearheaded by Former Trump Campaign Official
Playing on popular pro-Trump talking points, the rally scheduled for Sept. 18 calls for the release of alleged Capitol rioters currently held in a Washington, D.C., jail, whom it characterizes as "political prisoners," according to The Daily Beast.
It is being organized by a group called Look Ahead America, directed by Matt Braynard, who was part of the data team for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
"What we are looking for is pure patriotism. It's American flags, American clothing, T-shirts that sort of thing. And I invite you to make your own signs demanding justice for these political prisoners - demanding justice for Ashli Babbitt," Braynard said in a video posted on Twitter.