Here’s everything we know about the September 18 right-wing rally in DC

The September 18 right-wing rally in Washington, DC, has brought a new wave of concern about more potential violence on Capitol Hill as law enforcement prepares for a variety of scenarios.

But it remains unclear how many protesters plan to attend. And the rally is taking place on a Saturday, when both chambers of Congress will be on recess, meaning far fewer lawmakers or staff will be in the area.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is the rally for?

The “Justice for J6” rally aims to support insurrectionists charged in the deadly January 6 Capitol riot. Organizers say it is scheduled to start at noon ET on Saturday.

Who are the organizers?

The rally is being planned by “Look Ahead America,” a nonprofit led by former Trump campaign staffer Matt Braynard. The group is “dedicated to standing up for patriotic Americans who have been forgotten by our government,” according to their website.

Baynard said in a recent interview with CNN, “This is a completely peaceful protest,” and that “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.”

Still, at least one Proud Boys leader has encouraged followers from across the country to show up, though others online have discouraged attendance and warned it might be a false flag operation designed to trap supporters.

Meanwhile, “White Lives Matter” is advertising global demonstrations for September 18 and has been supportive of the January 6 insurrectionists online, but it does not have a DC chapter.

What are law enforcement officials expecting?

Law enforcement officials are bracing for potential clashes and unrest during the rally, according to an internal Capitol Police memo reviewed by CNN.

The latest intelligence report on the event notes that online chatter in support of the rally started increasing after the officer who fatally shot rioter Ashli Babbitt went public with his identity in a recent interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.

There’s been a noticeable uptick in violent rhetoric around the event and heated discussions centered on Babbitt’s shooting on social media and discussion boards, according to the memo. The document warns that many individuals may also see September 18 as a “Justice for Ashli Babbitt” rally, which could be cause for concern, and it’s not unreasonable to plan for violent altercations.

There have been additional discussions of violence associated with the event, with one online chat suggesting violence against Jewish centers and liberal churches while law enforcement is distracted that day.

Around 500 people have indicated they plan to attend, though the memo notes that past recent events organized by Look Ahead America had significantly lower attendance than expected and were peaceful.

What security steps will be in place?

The US Capitol Police board has approved the department’s request to reinstall temporary fencing around the Capitol ahead of the rally.

Fencing had been erected around the Capitol following the January 6 riot but was eventually pared back and removed over the summer.

Additionally, Capitol Police said in a statement Monday that its board 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 United States Capitol Police Special Officers.”

“We want to reassure everyone these are temporary measures to ensure everyone’s safety,” Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in the statement. “We are extremely grateful for the support we continue to receive from the local community and our Congressional stakeholders as we carry out our critical mission.”

What are lawmakers saying about the security preparations?

After Manger briefed the top four congressional leaders about security preparations for the rally, House Speaking Nancy Pelosi told reporters the planning “seems much better.”

But Pelosi also noted she doesn’t “have anything to compare it to, because we weren’t briefed before,” referring to the January 6 insurrection. “So it’s not like I can compare it to before but … I’m sure we’ll have ongoing communication,” she added after leaving the briefing.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer similarly said he believes Capitol Police are “well prepared, thorough, professional, and I think they’re better prepared than people were before January 6.”

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