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Few Show Up For “Justice” at Rally in Support of Jan 6 Rioters

  • by Zach D. Roberts
  • — an exclusive photo essay for the Palast Investigative Fund

[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.

A Q-Anon Shaman imitator at the Justice for J6 rally. © Zach D. Roberts, 2021

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.

Turn-out for the Justice for J6 rally in Washington in support of jailed rioters. © Zach D. Roberts, 2021
Capitol police show up in force, unlike rally goers, at the Justice for J6 rally. © Zach D. Roberts, 2021

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.

A protester is detained at the Justice for J6 rally. © Zach D. Roberts, 2021

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 co-produced Greg Palast's films The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Vigilantes, Inc: America’s Vote Suppression Hitmen (out Fall 2024). Roberts is a Palast Investigative Fund Fellow and Puffin artist grant recipient.

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