The “Justice for J6” rally ended without significant incidence despite the reports of potential violence and increased security, including fencing.
In photos and videos taken around the Capitol show media and police, many were heavily armed and in riot gear, outnumbered protesters, who gathered to support defendants still detained in connection with the January 6 protest.
The event began with a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the national anthem.
“We condemn all violence, political violence,” said Matt Braynard, founder of Look Ahead America and organizer of the rally. “I’m demanding that you all are respectful and obedient to police officers today. In fact, I’d like to start off — can we please have a round of applause to the main police officers?”
Speakers spoke for about 90 minutes while condemning anyone who committed violent acts on January 6, 2021, and called for justice for those arrested in the wake of the riot, many of who have claimed non-violent but months later remain behind bars.
“[This is] not about President Trump,” Braynard said. “It’s not about President Biden. It’s not about the election. It’s not about what you think happened with the election.”
“This is about justice and disparate treatment and equal treatment under the law.”
Braynard told people ahead of the rally not to wear any shirts with political messages or disparaging signage.
The violent protests from the left were pointed out, from Antifa in Portland, Oregon, to those protesting then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by storming congressional office buildings that were never prosecuted. Braynard said those protesters were bailed out the same day they were arrested.
Braynard and other speakers said is the treatment of people now jailed in D.C. related to the Capitol attack, some of whom have been allegedly kept in solitary confinement, and others reportedly not allowed to shave or cut their hair.
Those in attendance called for the release of more than a dozen hours of video during January 6 that remains unseen by the public and transparency.
“Release the video!” the crowd chanted. “Equal justice or no justice!”
“We’re gonna raise our voices in defense of our fellow Americans who’ve had their rights and due process violated,” said Braynard, who called these individuals “political prisoners.”
“We’re gonna raise our voices, demanding justice for Ashli Babbitt and for the government to come clean on whatever involvement the FBI might have had in the events of January 6.”
Additionally, several speakers addressed the low turnout, blaming media hype and fear of violence for discouraging people from attending.
“Do you see an insurrection?” Cara Castronuova, founder of Citizens Against Political Persecution, said at the rally. “Who watched the news this week? Who read the media? Who was terrified to come here? Shame on the people in the system that put fear in the hearts of American citizens to stay home and to not come out, many of whom have called me and messaged me begging and pleading for me to stay home because they fear for my life and my freedom.”
“What kind of America has this become where people are afraid to come out and protest?” Castronuova said. “This is a peaceful protest.”
Braynard asked the crowd to leave promptly and orderly and asked them to thank police as they departed as the event concluded.
While no significant security incidents, NBC Washington reported the Capitol Police have since confirmed four arrests, two for weapons possessions and two for outstanding warrants.