Though they expect the event to be safe and peaceful, Capitol Police, DC Police, and other agencies are preparing for the possibility of violence at the far-right rally taking place at the Capitol on Saturday, officials said at a press conference Friday.
US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said his department is aware of a number of threats, though it’s “tough to say” whether those threats are credible or not. He said that his department “would be foolish” not to take their intelligence seriously. “The chatter we heard before January 6 turned out to be credible,” he said. “This is as good a time as any to practice this model [of interagency cooperation].”
In addition to the Capitol Police, DC Police will be fully activated, and National Guard members will be available should the event go on longer than expected.
DC Police Chief Robert Contee said his department would “not abandon the residents of the District of Columbia,” and that there would be a police presence in other parts of the city outside of the Capitol area. Contee said he expects other big events this weekend, including the H Street Festival, sporting events, and concerts, to continue uninterrupted.
It’s unclear exactly how many people will show up to the rally, Manger said, but the permit plans for a crowd of 700. To Manger’s knowledge, no elected officials will attend— those who were invited have all declined, he said. Capitol Police are aware of three groups organizing counterprotests, and are concerned about potential violence should the protesters and counter-protesters clash. DC Police will be working to keep the groups apart.