The ‘Justice for J6’ rally in Washington, D.C., concluded peacefully on Saturday after the Capitol Police ramped up security in anticipation of the event.
The rally reportedly drew only an estimated 100 to 200 people, who gathered near the Capitol to protest the imprisonment of people arrested for their involvement in the Capitol riot. Organizers had expected around 700 demonstrators, which is still far fewer than the number of supporters of former President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol in January.
Justice for J6 organizer Matt Braynard – with only a handful of rally-goers present – is being protected by a security guard with a singular air-pod. pic.twitter.com/zde7HavuuZ
— Zachary Petrizzo (@ZTPetrizzo) September 18, 2021
At the J6 rally on the Mall, protesters are outnumbered by reporters. Massive police presence: helicopter, police dogs, dump trucks lining 3rd St. The cost per protester would be interesting to work out. pic.twitter.com/YjXXTW4Cdi
— Del Quentin Wilber (@DelWilber) September 18, 2021
Security at the Justice for J6 rally 👀 pic.twitter.com/PtgbOpWWP7
— Richie🎥McG🍿 (@RichieMcGinniss) September 18, 2021
Hundreds of Trump supporters stunned the nation on January 6 when they forced their way into the Capitol building just as a joint session of Congress convened to certify the results of the presidential election.
The Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement agencies were criticized after the Capitol riot for being unprepared for the size of the protest and slow to respond, allowing the situation to spiral out of control. They seemingly sought to rectify that this weekend.
Ahead of Saturday’s rally, the temporary fencing around the Capitol that was erected after the riot was reinstalled. Security cameras, reportedly provided to the Capitol Police by the Department of Defense, were installed around the Capitol near the site of the rally. Several congressional offices were also closed ahead of the event.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also approved a request from Capitol Police to have 100 D.C. National Guard troops ready to assist police if the rally turned violent.
Both the House and Senate are out, so lawmakers were not present at the Capitol complex on Saturday. Reporters and the heavy law enforcement presence vastly outnumbered the demonstrators who showed up for the rally.
A minor incident occurred at around 12:40 p.m. when police arrested a man who had a knife for a weapons violation. No known major incidents or violence occurred during the rally, however.
The rally was organized by former Trump campaign staffer Matt Braynard, who gave a speech and called for a round of applause for police.
At least 610 people face federal charges for their alleged involvement in the Capitol riot. Many of the cases follow a cookie-cutter pattern involving some combination of trespassing and disorderly conduct charges, as well as “Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building.” The U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., has called in prosecutors from around the country to try cases against Capitol riot defendants.
In July, the FBI said it continues to hunt for hundreds of people suspected of participating in the riot. The FBI website looking for information about Capitol rioters displays pictures and videos of the suspects.
Last month, Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol riot was formally exonerated after the Capitol Police conducted an internal investigation. In April, the Justice Department announced that it would not pursue criminal charges against the officer, saying that it did not find that the officer had violated any federal laws.
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