Far-right protesters are planning to rally in Washington, DC again on Saturday to support insurgents who violated the United States Capitol on Jan.6 and are now in jail.
The so-called ‘Justice for D6’ rally, organized by former Donald Trump campaign agent Matt Braynard and his group Look Ahead America, aims to show their support for the violent mob that invaded the Capitol eight months ago . Five people died in the riot and hundreds more were injured, including many police officers. Since then, hundreds of arrests have been made and federal authorities are still looking for more suspects.
Despite fears of violence on Saturday, it is unclear which of the main far-right groups, if any, will show up at the rally. Extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers – both of which had members who were in the Jan.6 uprising and who have since joined protests in support of the defendants – appear to have publicly withdrawn from the event. Saturday, fearing further arrests.
Jared Holt, a researcher at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab who tracks far-right extremism on the internet, told HuffPost that there hasn’t been much talk in extremist circles online in favor of participation in the event.
“A lot of these groups seem to be pretty clear with their members that they shouldn’t be going to this thing on Saturdays, and that by doing so [they] could end up putting their members who are still being tried for their roles on Jan. 6 in a more precarious legal situation, ”said Holt. “From all I can tell, this consensus has been heard and people intend to obey it.”
This includes members of groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. As Holt points out in his Substack, far-right figures including Gab’s CEO Andrew Torba and QAnon conspiratorial leader Ron Watkins also urged their supporters not to attend, lest – like Torba said it – to become “a political prisoner of the state.” “
Still, the possibility of violence on Saturday puts the Metropolitan Police Department on high alert. The city is building a security fence around the perimeter of the Capitol building, although Congress is unlikely to meet this weekend and there will be less threat to lawmakers, according to NPR.
Braynard has applied for a permit to host the rally in Union Square, a public park near the Capitol Reflection Basin, and expects around 700 people to show up, according to the Washington Post. (Holt told HuffPost he suspected this was an overestimate.)
In addition to immediate concerns about violence, there are fears that Saturday’s rally will help normalize one of the most egregious acts of domestic political violence in modern American history and raise the already high temperature of protests across the country.
“Matt Braynard and his organizers are going to have access to a megaphone to the nation that they have been completely unable to secure on their own merits,” said Holt. “Braynard’s ultimate goal with Look Ahead America is to rewrite the history of January 6, and I fear that in the interests of ‘fair coverage’ the media will end up broadcasting some of his revisionist history.”
Republican lawmakers, such as US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) And Madison Cawthorn (NC), have tried to downplay the events of January 6 and glorify the insurgents, even labeling those arrested as “political hostages.” Both camps of lawmakers told reporters their bosses would not be in attendance on Saturday. Former President Donald Trump, who fomented the violent atmosphere that led to the January insurgency, is not expected.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) On Wednesday condemned anyone willing to attend this weekend’s rally, calling them “coming back to congratulate those who wanted to kill.”
Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, one of more than 140 police officers injured in the attacks earlier this year, told the Daily Beast he was “shocked but not surprised” that there was another gathering.
“My concern is the safety and well-being of myself and all other officers who have chosen to speak publicly about their experiences on January 6,” he said. “It is hypocritical that they are now protesting against the incarceration of individuals who participated in the January 6 uprising.”
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