WASHINGTON – Strict security was in place Thursday at the Capitol in Washington, where a deadly riot broke out in January, after police warned that a militia may attempt to attack the building to mark a symbolic date for conspiratorial nationalists.
A US official told Reuters that police at Capitol Hill, where five people including a police officer were killed on January 6 in the attack by supporters of former President Donald Trump, asked the Pentagon to extend the National Guard’s mission to protect the building by two months.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, this representative of the Department of Defense said that the department had received the request and would study it. He added that it was highly likely that this request would be granted.
About 5,200 members of the National Guard are currently mobilized to protect the Capitol.
A note released Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI referred to discussions by an unidentified group of “violent extremists” to “take control of the United States Capitol and oust Democratic parliamentarians there on March 4. or around that date “.
For some conspirators, March 4 is the date on which Republican Donald Trump, defeated by Democrat Joe Biden in last November’s presidential election, was due for a second term. Until 1933, March 4 was the traditional date of investiture.
Supporters of the former White House tenant broke into Capitol Hill in January to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden‘s election victory, leading to unprecedented scenes of chaos in the building where all of the officials then stood. elected officials and then vice president Mike Pence.
The House of Representatives canceled the session scheduled for Thursday, in part because of the warning from the authorities. The Senate, on the other hand, continued its work, while it was to debate the $ 1.9 trillion economic stimulus plan wanted by President Joe Biden.
By midday, there was no sign of any protesters near the metal fence erected around the Capitol. Dozens of National Guard soldiers were deployed behind the fence, several hundred meters from the building.
Federal prosecutors have indicted more than 300 people for their involvement in the January 6 assault. Among those arrested are members of far-right groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, many of whom move heavily armed.
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