Washington [US], September 19 (ANI): A small crowd of protesters turned up on Saturday (local time) in Washington to rally in support of the pro-Trump rioters who ransacked the US Capitol on January 6.
The crowd was outnumbered by the presence of the news media and police forces on hand to monitor the event, reported The Hill.
Fearing another violent riot like that of January 6, US Capitol Police had joined forces with other local and federal law enforcement agencies, creating a massive security apparatus that featured road closures, layers of fencing, hundreds of officers, a National Guard corps on standby, a cavalry lying in wait and helicopters buzzing overhead.
Neither the large security presence nor the small turnout dampened the mood of either the organizers or the members of the pro-Trump crowd, reported The Hill.
"We gave our message ... that there are people being held without their constitutional rights being given them," said Joe Kent, a Republican who's challenging GOP Rep Jaime Herrera Beutler in Washington state in next year's midterm election. "We did it peacefully, and it seems like it was a successful day."
The theme of the protest was that those arrested for non-violent offences surrounding January 6, they argued, have been jailed too long or have suffered other mistreatments that defy their constitutional rights.
They repeatedly characterized those facing charges as "political prisoners" -- with one speaker claiming they're being "tortured" -- and accused authorities of punishing them more harshly than the Black Lives Matter protesters of last summer, though they were charged in some cases with similar crimes.
Although a number of congressional Republicans have raised the same concerns about the treatment of those arrested in connection to January 6, no lawmakers participated in Saturday's event -- a dynamic that irked the organizers, the speakers and some of those in the crowd, reported The Hill.
"It would have been nice to have them out here. I'm a little bit disappointed that they didn't show up," said Kent. "I guess there was some pressure coming from (House Minority Speaker) Kevin McCarthy (R-California), which doesn't surprise me at all."
The lawmakers who declined to participate had plenty of cover since former President Trump did not endorse the rally, though he did release a statement on Thursday alleging that those charged in the January 6 insurrection are "being persecuted so unfairly", reported The Hill
The protesters came to support the roughly 600 people charged in connection with the Capitol attack on January 6, when a violent mob of Trump supporters breached Capitol security in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Biden's 2020 election win. Rioters ransacked the building, including lawmakers' offices, and clashed with Capitol Police. (ANI)