Merk argiewe: Vigil

Riot supporters in short supply at candlelight vigil for Jan 6 arrestees

Riot supporters in short supply at candlelight vigil for Jan 6 arrestees
Trump supporters were outnumbered by reporters outside DC jail

If you didn’t get the chance to attend the candlelight vigil for accused participants in the Capitol riot outside Washington DC’s jail, and are looking for an accurate depiction of the event, simply recall what the Justice for J6 group’s so-called “rally” outside of the Capitol last September looked like – sparsely attended.

The “Nationwide Justice for J6 Candlelight Vigil” was meant to honour the accused Capitol rioters holed up in jail cells, but supporters of former President Donald Trump found themselves once again vastly outnumbered by waiting press and members of law enforcement.

Several square blocks around Washington DC’s jail were shut down for the event Thursday night, which itself ended up being relegated to one street corner. With the towering detention center in the background, a handful of demonstraters complained (falsely) that all or some of those who were imprisoned there in connection to the riot remained uncharged.

A small group huddled around an American flag singing the National Anthem, God Bless America, and other songs in between short addresses from speakers, including the mother of Ashli Babbitt, the woman killed by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to breach a security barricade and storm the House chamber with lawmakers still inside.

Away from the main group, a few attendees with less scruples about addressing the media directly found themselves interviewed by the growing scrum of journalists, which by the time the event was in full swing outnumbered the actual demonstration’s attendance by close to three-to-one.

A camera crew from The Daily Show gathered around correspondent Jordan Klepper as he attempted to beguile a man identified only as “John” who repeatedly insisted that the vast majority of those around the Capitol on 6 January were peaceful protesters, while adding that Trump supporters would have brought greater numbers of weapons had the riot been a true insurrection.

Others among the crowd included well-known journalists on the right-wing political reporting beat, including CNN’s Elle Reeve, whose coverage of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville was widely praised and revealed some of the extreme views of the crowd.

Alles in ag geneem, fewer than two dozen attendees were at the scene over the course of the hour on Thursday, clinging to small candles that were mostly burned out (save for those wielded by savvier demonstrators who shielded their candles from the wind with plastic McDonald’s cups in a moment of true innovation). Other vigils around the country were advertised on the group’s website in states including Arizona, Florida, Georgië, Texas and elsewhere.

Notably absent from the evening’s proceedings were two right-wing members of Congress, Reps Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who led the GOP response to Democrats’ condemnation of the riot on its anniversary and held their own press conference on Thursday in defence of their efforts to overturn the 2020 verkiesing.

The two addressed supporters and the media earlier in the day at the Cannon House Office Building, where they all but threw the attendees of Thursday night’s vigil (and those imprisoned in the DC jail for allegedly storming the Capitol) under the bus, blaming those involved in the riot for what they portrayed as a distraction from their efforts in support of Donald Trump.

Thursday night’s event concluded without any scuffles between protesters and counter-protesters, much like September’s Justice for J6 rally, which saw a handful arrests but none for violent offenses.

One minor moment of anger occurred when “John”, the Trump supporter who had previously been talking to Comedy Central, apparently realised that a subsequent conversation he was having with two onlookers did not actually involve reporters but rather two local DC residents who stopped by the area and had begun arguing with him about Mr Trump and the riot itself, which resulted in him exclaiming, “Well f*** you then,” loudly, and storming off.

Roughly two dozen exasperated-looking police officers were also in attendance, largely making sure that onlookers did not venture into cordoned-off areas or injure themselves while attempting to take photographs of the minuscule crowd.

The vigil concluded without incident around 7pm as demonstrators and media began to disperse, drawing the one-year anniversary of the January 6 riot in Washington DC to a close.