The “Justice for J6” rally organized to protest the arrests of those who participated in the Capitol riot drew small crowds and remained largely peaceful Saturday.
The number of press and police vastly outnumbered the protesters early on, though more rallygoers came as speakers took the stage. Protective fencing was put up around the Capitol in the days before the rally in response to concerns of violence, resembling the days after the Jan. 6 attack.
Surrounded by reporters, fencing and police, protesters and counter-protesters acted peacefully, with no reported injuries after the crowd dispersed. Four people were arrested, Capitol Police said. (RELATED: Capitol Police Request National Guard Presence Ahead Of ‘Justice For J6’ Rally)
Matt Braynard, the rally’s organizer, told reporters Saturday that the rally was meant to be a “message demanding equal justice,” and noting the large media presence. When asked by the Daily Caller News Foundation whether he thought the protest was a success despite the small crowd, he responded that it was a “huge success! You came!”
Braynard also urged protesters to remain peaceful and to support the police officers protecting them. Though no sitting lawmakers spoke Saturday, Joe Kent, a Republican primarying Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, took the stage, calling the riot defendants “political prisoners” and saying their arrests and detention was “banana republic stuff.” (RELATED: Capitol Police Chief Says Even People Defending Capitol Rioters Have Free Speech)
Several counter protesters were also present. One told the DCNF that he was there in an attempt to preserve democracy, calling on both liberals and conservatives to fix and cherish it together.
“I came down to extend the opportunity to everybody to create unity on the issue,” he said. “Everybody here is interested,” he added. “It takes a lot of work to plant a seed, but the real question is whether people think democracy is still an American value.”
Kaylee Greenlee contributed to this report.
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