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100 National Guard to help Capitol Police for Saturday rally
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday approved 100 National Guard troops to aid Capitol Police for Saturday's Washington, D.C., rally in defense of those arrested in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot.
The Guardsmen, who will come from the D.C. National Guard, "will be stationed at the D.C. Armory as a Physical Security Task Force to augment law enforcement for the September 18th demonstration on Capitol Hill," Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell said in a statement.
The troops join a number of local law enforcement agencies supporting the Capitol Police in preparation for the "Justice for J6" rally, where demonstrators will be backing people who invaded the Capitol in a failed attempt to overturn President Biden's election victory.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police Department will have an increased presence around the city, with numerous street closures set to go into effect, a move intended to prevent similar events from occurring.
Seven-foot fencing that was erected around the Capitol grounds the day after Jan. 6 was reinstalled Wednesday night in preparation for this weekend.
The Pentagon statement notes that should the Capitol Police require assistance, they will first utilize local, state, and federal law enforcement capabilities before requesting the Guard troops.
"The task force will only be deployed upon request of the Capitol Police to help protect the U.S. Capitol Building and Congressional Office buildings by manning building entry points and verifying credentials of individuals seeking access to the building," Mitchell said.
The National Guard had helped secure the Capitol and drive rioters back toward the National Mall on Jan. 6.
For months afterward, thousands of Guardsmen from around the country patrolled the Capitol grounds.