Organizers say Sept. 18 Capitol Rally Will be ‘Peaceful’

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The U.S. Capitol Police have recommended reinstalling fencing around the Capitol building in anticipation of a rally planned for Sept. 18 in support of people arrested in the Jan. 6 riot, the Washington Post reports.. “The vast majority of people were exercising their First Amendment rights at a public building,” rally organizer and former Trump campaign operative Matt Braynard said. Look Ahead America, an organization Braynard founded that has planned protests in support of people arrested in connection to the insurrection, estimates that 700 people will attend. Braynard has insisted the rally will be “peaceful,” although local law enforcement is increasing staffing ahead of the event: ​​D.C. police will be “fully activated” on Sept. 17 and 18, meaning all officers must work those days, according to spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.

The planned rally comes as the government continues to investigate people who participated in the Capitol riot — a process that hasn’t been absent of legal challenges. A second federal judge questioned whether the lead felony charge leveled by the government against Capiot riot defendants, including 18 Oath Keepers, is unconstitutionally vague, the Washington Post reports. U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta questioned how federal prosecutors distinguish felony conduct qualifying as “obstructing an official proceeding” of Congress, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, from misdemeanor offenses the government has charged others with, such as shouting to interrupt a congressional hearing. Prosecutors have brought the obstruction charge against members of the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and Three Percenters, though defendants in at least eight cases have moved to dismiss the count because they assert the Jan. 6 joint House and Senate session doesn’t qualify as an official proceeding of Congress.

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