The controversial security fence around the U.S. Capitol is coming back, and police say they're prepared ahead of a rally expected this weekend.
The Justice for J6 rally is planned for Saturday outside the Capitol. That rally is in support of the the rioters who violently stormed the building on Jan. 6.
The Capitol Police Board approved a plan Monday to bring back a temporary fence around the Capitol, and an emergency declaration will go into effect about the time of the demonstration. The declaration will allow Capitol Police to deputize outside law enforcement officers as U.S. Capitol Police special officers.
“We are here to protect everyone’s First Amendment right to peacefully protest,” said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger in a release Monday. “I urge anyone who is thinking about causing trouble to stay home. We will enforce the law and not tolerate violence.”
The fence will go up a day or two before the rally and will come down shortly after if all goes well, Manger said last week, after briefing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., on the upcoming demonstration.
Capitol Police said in a release that they have been holding planning meetings for this weekend's rally and are sharing information with officers, law enforcement partners and Congress.
“We want to reassure everyone these are temporary measures to ensure everyone’s safety,” Manger said. “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.”
Online, one of the organizers of Saturday's planned Justice for J6 rally asked participants to be respectful to police.
"I'm asking you to be kind to them, be respectful, and if they ask you to do something, please do so," said organizer Matt Braynard.
Just days ahead of the rally, U.S. Capitol Police officers on Monday morning arrested an armed suspected white supremacist not far from the Capitol.
The man, identified by police as 44-year-old David Craighead from Oceanside, California, was in an old pickup truck marked with swastikas. The truck had an American flag sticker where the license plate should be. Police found an illegal machete and bayonet inside the truck.
"They're certainly on a high state of alert in and around this complex," Manger said Monday of the officers who responded to the incident.
When questioned by Capitol Police, the man said he was "on patrol" and then launched into some white supremacist language.
It happened not far from the Democratic National Committee headquarters, near a parking lot used by Capitol Police.
Police say they have no evidence so far that Craighead had planned to attend Saturday's rally. He is being held on illegal weapon charges.