The “Justice for J6” rally organized to protest the arrests of those involved in the Capitol riot drew small crowds and remained largely peaceful on Saturday.
The number of journalists and police far outnumbered the number of protesters at first, although more spectators came as the speakers took to the stage. Protective fences were erected around the Capitol in the days leading up to the rally in response to fears of violence, resembling the days following the January 6 attack.
Surrounded by journalists, fencers and police, the demonstrators and counter-demonstrators acted peacefully, without any injuries being reported after the dispersal of the crowd. Four people were arrested, Capitol police noted.
Matt Braynard, the rally’s organizer, told reporters on Saturday that the rally was meant to be a “message demanding equal justice,” and noting the strong media presence. When asked by the Daily Caller News Foundation if he thought the protest was a success despite the small crowd, he replied that it was “a huge success!” You came!”
Braynard also urged protesters to remain peaceful and support the police officers who are protecting them. Although no sitting lawmakers spoke on Saturday, Joe Kent, Republican Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, took the stage, calling the riot defendants “political prisoners” and saying their arrests and detentions were “banana republic stuff”.
Several counter-demonstrators were also present. One of them told the DCNF he was there to try to preserve democracy, calling on both liberals and conservatives to fix and cherish it together.
“I have come to give everyone the opportunity to create a unit on the issue,” he said. “Everyone here is interested,” he added. “It takes a lot of work to plant a seed, but the real question is whether people think democracy is still an American value. “
Kaylee Greenlee contributed to this report.
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