Right-Wing Protest at the Capitol

Far-right protestors gather to denounce arrests of Jan. 6 rioters

On Saturday, Sept. 18, 400 far-right protestors filled the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in support of the rioters arrested on January 6. Matt Braynard, executive director of Look Ahead America, said that he organized the “Justice for J6” rally to protest the arrests of “the many people who were there that day who have not been charged with violence … and the disparate treatment they’ve received.” His indignation is falsely premised, as prosecutors are charging insurrectionists individually.
The lead-up to the rally attracted crowds of journalists and counter-protestors, provoking Capitol police to increase security; But fears of a sequel to the January 6 riot went unrealized. Besides three weapons possession violations and a quickly-dispersed scuffle, the event was peaceful due to a combination of aggressive preparation by law enforcement and Baynard’s own mediation. He asserted on social media that dissenters should not resist or harass officers, wear any merchandise supporting a political candidate, or mention stolen elections (a clear allusion to President Donald Trump’s propaganda regarding voter fraud). Turnout might have been higher were it not for Trump himself; when asked about the rally in an exclusive interview with The Federalist, the former president discouraged participation, claiming that it was a setup designed to make Republicans look bad. He then teased a comeback presidential run in 2024. No sitting member of Congress attended the protest. Ultimately, the event seemed to capture the current state of conservative America: misinformed, fractured, and unsure of where to go without Donald Trump.