US police warn of threat of violence at Trump supporters’ Capitol rally.

Hundreds of far-right demonstrators are expected in Washington for the “Justice For J6” rally, in support of the 643 people arrested on charges of joining the storming of the US Capitol in January.

Police have ramped up security around the white-domed building, mindful of the rioters on January 6th who attacked police, smashed windows and climbed into the building, sending lawmakers and then-vice president Mike Pence running for safety.

The riot by Trump supporters was an attempt to stop certification of US president Joe Biden’s election victory.

Workers have reassembled a fence that was put up around the white-domed Capitol following that day but was taken down in July.

US Capitol police chief J Thomas Manger on Friday told reporters “there have been some threats of violence associated” with Saturday’s demonstration.

The police department has a “strong plan in place” to maintain a peaceful event, Manger told a news conference.

“In the last few days, we’ve had a number of specific threats come in against specific members of Congress, ” Mr Manger said, adding that those threats have not been “specifically tied to the rally tomorrow.”

Troops

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin has put 100 National Guard troops on standby to help police protect the Capitol if needed, the Pentagon said on Friday. A Pentagon spokesman said the request had been made by the Capitol police and the troops would be based out of the DC Armory.

The National Guard troops, who will be unarmed except for batons, would be used after local, state and federal law enforcement capabilities had been tapped, the spokesman said.

“The task force will only be deployed upon request of the Capitol police to help protect the US Capitol building and Congressional Office buildings by manning building entry points and verifying credentials of individuals seeking access to the building,” the spokesman said.

Mr Manger said one risk police were preparing for was clashes between Trump supporters and counter-protesters.

“What we’re concerned about, I think, more than anything is the possibility of counterdemonstrators making it to this demonstration and there being violence between those two groups,” Mr Manger said. “In my opinion, that’s the most likely scenario for violence.”

Most members of Congress will be out of town on Saturday. –Reuters

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