(Trends Wide) — The rally near the United States Capitol this Saturday to support those accused of the January 6 insurrection was held with a crowd of a few hundred and without significant security incidents.
The United States Capitol Police said that a man was arrested because he was carrying a knife. Police in riot gear also intervened at one point to separate rally attendees from counter-protesters, who were separated without incident, according to Capitol Police.
But overall, the event was peaceful. Capitol Police said between 400 and 450 people were in the protest area, including journalists. The organizers had received a permit for 700 people and claimed that some of their supporters did not show up because they were afraid.
There was a massive police presence around the protest and around the Capitol, and law enforcement took extraordinary measures to ensure that the January 6 insurrection did not recur. While there was little evidence as of Saturday that any of that proportion was likely, there were concerns about extremist groups and possible clashes with protesters of a different stance.
The event was organized in part by a former Trump campaign staff member, Matt Braynard, who previously promoted the “big lie” that the 2020 election was rigged.
“It’s about the many people who were there that day, who have not been accused of violence … and the unequal treatment they have received,” Braynard said.
Organizers repeatedly said they condemn the violence that occurred on January 6, but one of the first people to address the crowd was the girlfriend of a riot who was accused of assaulting police with a large stick. Other speakers pushed discredited pro-Trump narratives about the insurrection, and one woman falsely claimed that the insurgents were being forced vaccinated in jail.
The event was held in support of non-violent “political prisoners” who were charged with crimes related to the January 6 attack and who are now in jail prior to trial. But only a handful of the more than 600 accused of Capitol disturbances fit into this category, according to Trends Wide’s analysis of court records.
The vast majority of the more than 600 defendants were released shortly after their arrest. Only a few dozen were ordered to stay in jail before trial, and most of them were charged with violent crimes. For the handful of nonviolent rioters in custody, federal judges concluded that they were too dangerous to release, claiming they could be involved in future acts of political violence.