Tall, black fences reinforced with concrete barriers are encircling the U.S. Capitol, a key security measure before a rally that has law enforcement on high alert.
The Justice for J6 rally is planned for Saturday outside the Capitol. The rally is in support of the rioters who violently stormed the building on Jan. 6.
Trucks carrying concrete barriers and tall fences began to arrive Wednesday evening and crews worked to complete installation Thursday morning.
The fencing is set to stretch down Constitution Avenue, First Street and Independence Avenue, blocking off the Capitol building and grounds. Numerous streets will be closed and parking restrictions will be in place, D.C. police said.
"I'm hoping it's only temporary," one resident said. "Normally, we have protests all the time. So, that's usual for here. [Jan. 6] took it to a whole other level."
The District and its law enforcement agencies are on edge after Jan. 6 and multiple scares near the Capitol since — including a car and knife attack that left a Capitol Police officer dead, a bomb threat and, most recently, the arrest of a man carrying a machete and bayonet near the Democratic National Headquarters.
Local officials are employing advanced security measures ahead of the rally, including the fence and a large presence of law enforcement agents.
"As we look across social media, there are calls on some of the disparate sites for folks to come armed. We’ve seen that before on a lot of our other events. So, this is reminding folks that come to the District what our laws are here and that, you know, you can't carry a gun here," D.C. Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Chris Geldart told News4 on Tuesday.
Rally organizers say they want to show support for hundreds of people arrested in connection with the Capitol riot, but don’t want violence.
“Anybody that violates those guidelines, we just assume is there to cause trouble,” organizer Matt Braynard said. “We will alert the Capitol Police to them, we have our own diplomatic security team.”
The Capitol Police Board approved a plan Monday to bring back the temporary fence around the Capitol.
Fencing was installed in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot and stayed up for months, but restricting access to “the People’s House” has been controversial among residents and visitors who use the grounds to get around D.C. or for recreation.
In July, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton cheered the removal of that fencing, calling it an “enormous victory for D.C. residents.”
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said the new fencing could be removed soon after the rally, but the timing is dependent on the security situation.
Road Closures, Parking Restrictions
D.C. Police said several road closures will be in place, in addition to parking restrictions.
Emergency parking restrictions will be in place Saturday, Sept. 18, from 5 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on the following streets:
- 3rd Street, from Constitution Avenue, NW to Independence Avenue, SW
- Constitution Avenue, from 3rd Street, NW to Louisiana Avenue, NW
- Pennsylvania Avenue, from Constitution Avenue, NW to 3rd Street, NW
- Maryland Avenue, from Independence Avenue, SW to 3rd Street, SW
- I Street, from 15th Street, NW to 17th Street, NW
- H Street, from 15th Street, NW to 17th Street, NW
- 17th Street, from Constitution Avenue, NW to L Street, NW (west side of Farragut Square)
- 17th Street from I Street, NW to K Street, NW (east side of Farragut Square)
- 15th Street from Constitution Avenue, NW to L Street, NW (east side of McPherson Square)
- 15th Street from I Street to K Street, NW (west side of McPherson Square)
- Connecticut Avenue from H Street, NW to L Street, NW
- Vermont Avenue from H Street, NW to L Street, NW
Street closures will be in place Saturday, Sept. 18, from 5 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on the following streets:
- 3rd Street, NW from Constitution Avenue, NW from Independence Avenue, SW
- Pennsylvania Avenue, NW from Constitution Avenue, NW to 3rd Street, NW
- Madison Drive, NW from 4th Street, SW to 3rd Street, NW
- Jefferson Drive, SW from 4th Street, SW to 3rd Street, SW
- Maryland Avenue, SW from Independence Avenue, SW to 3rd Street, SW