About 100 people showed up on Saturday for a protest on the National Mall in support of people arrested for storming the U.S. Capitol during the pro-Trump insurrection on January 6. Considering the widespread media coverage and extensive security preparations ahead of the event, and the fact that journalists and police far outnumbered attendees, the so-called “Justice for J6” rally undoubtedly attracted more attention than it deserved. Indeed, the rally’s “D-list” organizer claimed on Friday that the event was a success — at earning media coverage — before it had even begun.
On the plus side, it appeared that the various law-enforcement agencies responsible for maintaining security at and around the Capitol coordinated their response to the protest far more seriously than they had been able to for the Trump rally that became a deadly siege eight months ago. Congress was not in session this time, either.
The small peaceful protest, which lasted about 90 minutes, was opposed by a few dozen counter-protesters without incident. U.S. Capitol Police announced on Saturday afternoon that they had made four arrests related to the event, and estimated that a total of between 400-450 people were there, including law-enforcement personnel.
Rally organizers said they planned the event to protest over the treatment of “nonviolent” participants in the Capitol riot who were later arrested by authorities. Over 600 people involved in the Capitol riot have since been arrested. Seventy-one were in jail as of the weekend, mostly on charges of violent crimes during the January 6 insurrection. Saturday’s rally was meant to call attention to the plight of these individuals, but arrested rioters have already been widely defended and lionized on the right, including by former president Donald Trump (who himself had baselessly warned that Saturday’s rally was a trap set up by law enforcement).
Meanwhile, there was a far more stirring scene elsewhere on the National Mall over the weekend: