A few hundred protesters rallied in Washington on Saturday in support of the pro-Trump rioters who ransacked the US Capitol on January 6, but they were more than a strong security presence and journalists.
Cops caught on the back foot by deadly riots on Capitol Hill took no chances this time: They used a security fence around the Capitol complex, police in riot gear, and rows of armored trucks to keep the peace.
Organizers of the “Justice for J6” rally – who said they wanted to draw attention to those involved in the riots who had not committed violent crimes – were allowed 700 people to gather near the reflecting pool of the Capitol, but many showed little.
“Let them go!” The chants of chants rose from protesters when speakers took to the podium to call on President Joe Biden’s administration to detain “political prisoners”.
“Their rights are being violated,” David Thacker, a 63-year-old participant from Virginia, told AFP. “Their crimes do not justify the treatment being done to them.”
Congress members were not in the building on Saturday as the rally unfolded in riot gear with shields under the watchful eye of police, with many MPs still on summer vacation and not returning to the city until next week.
Look Ahead America, which organized the event and plans similar rallies across the country in the coming weeks, urged attendees to show respect to law enforcement officers and refrain from bringing up Donald Trump banners Was.
But some had hints that “free Biden’s political prisoner” or “Justice for Ashley Babbitt,” a woman who was shot by police on January 6 as she tried to dissolve the House of Representatives.
Capitol police said 400 to 450 people were inside the protest area, excluding law enforcement – but that would include several journalists on site.
Daniels, 35, who gave only his first name, said he had some friends who were being detained for the trial.
“I think they should release them,” he said.
Pointing to the capital, he said: “It’s our capital for the taxpayers, so we’re allowed to go wherever we want.”
Thousands of Trump supporters, some of whom were affiliated with ultra-nationalist and white supremacist groups, stormed the US legislature eight months ago in an attempt to reverse President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Nearly 600 have been charged, including at least 185 accused of assaulting, protesting or obstructing officers or employees, and more than 70 have been charged with destroying or stealing government property.
Officials say the mob attacked 140 officers, causing $1.5 million in damage to the Capitol complex.
Four people were arrested Saturday near the Capitol, with two on arms charges. Capitol police also said they separated groups of protesters and counter-protesters without incident.
(This story has not been edited by NB staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)