[Sept 18, 2021: Washington, D.C.] It was a spectacular fizzle. While Washington’s Capitol Police had prepared for a massive, potentially violent gathering of supporters of the imprisoned January 6 rioters, only a few dozen showed up—outnumbered five to one by the press covering them.
The “Justice for J-6 Rally” was organized by former Trump aide Matt Braynard to protest the imprisonment of rioters involved in the January 6 Capitol insurrection. Nevertheless, this no-show rally received huge national coverage, from CNN to NPR, despite the pitiful turn-out. (Contrast with the far larger demonstrations to Free Steve Donziger which did not receive two seconds on CNN.)
Some of those that did show up came in insurrection costumes, such as one man dressed in a fuzzy “shaman” hat in apparent emulation of the “Q-Anon Shaman” of January 6 who pleaded guilty, and is now imprisoned, for his part in the violent January 6 Capitol takeover.
Counter protesters never really bothered showing up either, and the few that did stayed in a separate park a handful of blocks away.
One protester was detained, but journalists noted that he showed the officers a badge, raising the question of whether he was an undercover police officer.
The rally ended promptly and Braynard, who had previously organized a series of “Look Ahead America” rallies, left with a small security detail.
Zach D Roberts is an investigative photojournalist who covers far-right extremism, and voter suppression in America. He covered the Unite the Right Rally in Chalottesville and his work there helped put four white extremists in jail. He also co-produced Greg Palast's The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and is a Palast Investigative Fund Fellow.