Saturday Washington rally organizer downplays concerns over violence as authorities tighten security – .


Matt Braynard’s comments come as law enforcement officials in Washington brace for potential clashes and unrest during the rally, according to an internal U.S. Capitol Police memo reviewed by CNN. The event, called the “Justice for J6” rally, aims to support insurgents indicted in the Jan.6 U.S. Capitol riot, which turned fatal after Capitol Hill police temporarily lost control of the building during the pro-Trump headquarters.

The rally is being planned by Look Ahead America, a non-profit organization run by Braynard, a former Trump campaign staffer.

“We have a largely peaceful crowd. We have had two events in Washington, DC so far – at the Department of Justice and at the jail – and there have been no incidents so far, “Braynard told CNN in an interview. .

“No one is going to bring a gun that will be part of our crowd, I can assure the police that,” he added.

Despite Braynard’s comments, law enforcement is preparing for the worst. Police at the United States Capitol have requested assistance from the DC National Guard, and CNN has learned that the DC Police will be fully activated for additional coverage on Saturday.

The Capitol Police intelligence report on the event notes that online discussions in support of the rally began to escalate after the officer who killed rioter Ashli ​​Babbitt made his identity public in a recent interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.

There was a noticeable increase in violent rhetoric around the event and heated discussions centered around the Babbitt shooting on social media and chat rooms, according to the note. The document warns that many people may also view Saturday as a “Justice for Ashli ​​Babbitt” rally, which could be of concern, and that it is not unreasonable to plan violent altercations.

There have been further discussions of the violence associated with the event, with an online chat suggesting violence against Jewish centers and liberal churches as law enforcement is distracted that day.

Pressed by CNN to find out if it is discouraging extremists from coming to the rally, Braynard said, “Our message is that when people come they don’t bring any kind of label and they come strictly to advocate for. justice for political prisoners of January 6. , referring to people who were arrested in connection with the riot.

About 500 people have indicated they plan to attend, although the memo says recent events hosted by Look Ahead America have had significantly less attendance than expected and were peaceful.

CNN’s Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here