The DC rally was held on behalf of the more than 600 people indicted in the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill. The riot drew a crowd of several hundred demonstrators on Saturday, as well as media and security personnel for those seeking grievances on behalf of the defendants known as “political prisoners”.
The small crowd had gathered just steps from where the worst violence took place earlier this year. The incident was greeted by a huge law enforcement presence. Mounted and bicycle policemen surrounded the rally as well as a Metropolitan Police Department helicopter that flew overhead. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger and MPD Chief Robert Contee III were both present at the rally.
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People who organized the rally called it ‘Justice for J6’, indicating the date that supporters of former President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol while trying to prevent the 2020 election results .
Protesters had to deal with numerous local, state and federal law enforcement and members of news channels outnumbering the event.
The United States Capitol Police arrested a few on Saturday during the non-violent protest according to updates online. According to police, those who were arrested had weapons, possession of a firearm and a violation of probation.
Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee told NBC News the crowd was “pretty much what they expected” and the presence of police could have deterred participation.
Police had stepped up security around the Capitol on Saturday, planting fences all around Capitol grounds, such as the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and other congressional office buildings.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Friday that around 100 National Guard soldiers were organized to protect the Capitol. In Washington, United States, on September 18, 2021, a riot police officer was assigned at the rally to support the accused of illegal activities during the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
Matt Braynard, a staff member of the previous Trump campaign, had organized the rally and also told CNBC that he expected the protest to be peaceful.
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The Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill began right after Trump, his speech said at a rally outside the White House, encouraged crowds to vote for Congress and fight against certification of Joe Biden’s election as president.
Four people lost their lives that day in connection with the riot. It also includes a woman who was shot and killed by a police officer as she tried to pass through a window towards the chamber of the House of Representatives.
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Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died the next day after losing his mind for hours after being attacked by rioters. Four police officers who responded to the attack have died by suicide since the attack.
More than 600 people were arrested in the January 6 riot, and more than 50 of them were pleaded guilty to various crimes. Six people were found guilty by the court, according to the justice ministry.