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Temporary fencing to surround Capitol ahead of September 18 right-wing rally

Law enforcement officials are bracing for potential clashes and unrest during an upcoming right-wing rally in Washington, DC, on Saturday.

Posted: Sep 13, 2021 2:47 PM

By Melanie Zanona, CNN

(CNN) -- The US Capitol Police board has approved the department's request to re-install temporary fencing around the Capitol ahead of a planned right-wing rally Saturday, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger told reporters Monday.

Manger said the fence will start going up a "day or two" before the event, and if "everything goes well," it will come down "very soon" after.

Fencing was erected around the Capitol following the deadly January 6 riot though it was eventually pared back and removed over the summer.

Law enforcement officials are bracing for potential clashes and unrest during an upcoming right-wing rally in Washington, DC, on Saturday, as violent rhetoric surrounding the event has increased online and counter-protests are being planned for the same day, according to an internal Capitol Police memo reviewed by CNN last week.

A Capitol security source told CNN last week the board was "likely" to approve the request, but the proposed temporary fencing footprint is expected to be smaller than previous fencing and is not expected to obstruct traffic.

Manger briefed the top four congressional leaders on Monday about security preparations for the September 18 rally, which is being organized by a former Trump campaign staffer in support of the jailed January 6 rioters. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all attended the security briefing.

"Just briefing them about the demonstration that's scheduled for September 18, the intelligence information that we're aware of and a little bit about our operational plan," Manger told reporters.

Manger added that the department will also host a press briefing a "day or two" before the event.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Pelosi said 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.

The department, under new leadership, vowed to improve communication and intelligence sharing with officers and other law enforcement agencies following the deadly January 6 insurrection. Internal reviews conducted by the department partly blamed intelligence sharing failures for the lack of preparedness.

Asked by CNN whether the National Guard would be brought in for the September 18 rally, Pelosi responded: "You'll have to ask the police board."

Manger's announcement also came hours after police say they arrested a California man who had multiple knives in his truck, which had a swastika and other White supremacist symbols painted on it, near the Democratic National Committee headquarters early Monday morning.

Last month, multiple buildings around the Capitol were evacuated amid an hours-long standoff with a suspect who claimed to have an explosive device. The man was arrested and no bomb was found in his truck, but Capitol Police did say at the time that the suspect possessed suspected bomb-making material.

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