Amid excessive safety, small pro-Trump crowd rallies at U.S. Capitol By Reuters

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© Reuters. A U.S. Capitol Police officer patrols the unscalable fence erected across the Capitol forward of an anticipated rally Saturday in assist of the Jan. 6 defendants in Washington, U.S. September 17, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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By Jan Wolfe and David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Police and media vastly outnumbered protesters across the U.S. Capitol on Saturday at a sparsely attended rally by supporters of the individuals who breached the constructing on Jan. 6, making an attempt to overturn former President Donald Trump’s election defeat.

About 100 to 200 protesters confirmed up, some carrying the flags of the right-wing group Three Percenters over their shoulders. It was far fewer than the 700 individuals organizers had anticipated and the 1000’s who introduced mayhem to the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Tons of of officers patrolled the Capitol grounds and a black eight-foot-high (2.44 m) fence that surrounded the white-domed constructing for about six months after the assault was reinstalled, reflecting unease a few potential repeat of Jan. 6. 100 Nationwide Guard troops have been on standby.

As a part of an effort by a few of Trump’s far-right supporters to rewrite the historical past of the lethal mob assault on the Capitol that was captured in graphic video, speaker after speaker insisted that a whole bunch of rioters arrested for his or her actions that day have been “political prisoners” who dedicated no violence.

Prosecutors and authorized consultants say the instances are being dealt with correctly.

“That is about justice and disparate remedy,” mentioned Matt Braynard, a rally organizer and supporter of Trump’s false claims that his defeat was the results of widespread fraud.

Whereas crowds have been small, passions rose at instances, with sporadic yelling matches breaking out between members within the rally and counter-demonstrators. Police on bicycles moved in to interrupt up a few of these squabbles.

Capitol Police reported 4 arrests, together with a person armed with a handgun noticed within the crowd, although they mentioned it was “not clear why the person was on the demonstration.” Officers in riot gear additionally eliminated one man from the rally who had a big knife strapped to his hip.

Organizers of the “Justice for J6” rally known as for a peaceable occasion, however U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger informed reporters on Friday there had been threats of violence linked to the rally, some focusing on particular person members of Congress, and police have been bracing to stop clashes between Trump supporters and opponents.

Tony Smith, 40, of Higher Marlboro, Maryland, mentioned he had come to voice his assist for a good judicial course of for these charged within the breach of the Capitol.

“If we do not honor that we do not honor America,” mentioned Smith, who was carrying a poster board that mentioned “We Need Trump!”

HUNDREDS CHARGED IN JAN. 6 RIOT

Greater than 600 individuals have been charged with participating within the Jan. 6 violence, which adopted a speech by Trump at a close-by rally reiterating his false claims that his election loss was the results of widespread fraud. These claims have been rejected by a number of courts, state election officers and members of Trump’s personal administration.

Rioters that day battled police, beating them with sticks and metallic barricades, smashed their method by way of home windows into the Capitol constructing and ran by way of the halls, sending lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence operating for security.

4 individuals died on Jan. 6, one fatally shot by police and three from medical emergencies. A Capitol Police officer who had been attacked by protesters died the day after and 4 cops who took half within the protection of the Capitol later dedicated suicide.

Nearly 50 individuals have to this point pleaded responsible to fees associated to the violence, 9 admitting to committing felonies. The overwhelming majority of defendants have been launched awaiting trial however about 75 are nonetheless in custody, in line with courtroom paperwork.

Members of the right-wing teams the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters are amongst these charged with storming the constructing.

“Allow them to go, allow them to go,” the gang often chanted through the rally, which lasted simply over an hour.

However Eric Lamar, 64, a retired firefighter in Washington, D.C., mentioned he got here to the Capitol to counter “false narratives” from Trump supporters about Jan. 6.

“It breaks my coronary heart,” Lamar mentioned after listening to one other retired firefighter declare that the riot was a “false flag,” a conspiracy concept wrongly claiming that the occasion was staged. “There isn’t a query that what occurred on Jan. 6 is the work of supporters of Donald Trump who determined falsely and with out proof that the election was stolen.”

Trump known as Saturday’s rally a “setup” and mentioned media would use it as an excuse to bash Republicans no matter its end result, in line with an interview on Thursday with the Federalist, a conservative information web site.

Not like on Jan. 6, when Congress was in session to certify Biden’s election, the Capitol was largely empty on Saturday, with most members out of city.

No members of Congress attended Saturday’s rally, although two Republican congressional candidates addressed the group.

Authorities, who had made clear they have been a lot better ready after being caught with out sufficient forces to deploy shortly in January, took no possibilities.

Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin put 100 Nationwide Guard troops on standby to assist police on Saturday if wanted.

Nationwide Guard troops have been stationed in and across the Capitol from early January by way of late Could, with as many as 5,200 troops in place on the mission’s peak.


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