The iron fences have returned - just in time for the next big demonstration by right-wing groups this Saturday afternoon. It was only in July that the meter-high barricades around the Congress building in Washington had been dismantled.They had been erected after supporters of then-President Donald Trump violently entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 to prevent the confirmation of Joe Biden's election victory. Five people were killed and about 140 emergency personnel were injured.
Once again, security forces do not want to be caught off guard, classifying the demonstration as potentially dangerous. Even though, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there are no reliable indications of planned violence, the Capitol Police have asked the Department of Defense to put the National Guard on standby. More than 700 protesters, including members of radical right-wing groups involved in the Capitol storm, are expected to attend.
The rally, under the slogan "Justice for J6," will demonstrate for the arrested attackers of January 6. The demonstration is being organized by Matt Braynard, a former Trump campaign staffer. Braynard, who operates as the executive director of the Look Ahead America organization, claims that those arrested are "political prisoners" and are being treated "tyrannically and inhumanely."
Several Republican congressmen also argue that way - and a survey released Tuesday shows just how many supporters share that view. According to the conservative pollsters at Rasmusssen Report, 49 percent of potential voters describe those arrested as "political prisoners."Officially, the Republican caucus leadership has distanced itself from the rally. Demonstrations are also expected outside state legislatures in at least 17 other cities.More than 600 attackers had been arrested and charged after the Jan. 6 riots. At least 50 of them have pleaded guilty, usually to minor offenses. So far, only six of them have been convicted.
Organizers are now calling for "peaceful protests" to demand that the cases of those arrested finally be decided. Participants should be "respectful towards security forces."Also, neither weapons nor partisan political statements should be brought, such as posters or T-shirts promoting Trump or against Biden. The colors of the American flag, meanwhile, are to be displayed across the board.Even if pro-Trump slogans are to be dispensed with, it is clear that this protest is entirely in the ex-president's interests. Trump has not acknowledged his election defeat to this day. The Republican propagates the "big lie" of massive election fraud that deprived him of a second term.
More than three-quarters of Republican supporters believe the election was stolen
That's also what 78 percent of Republican supporters believe, according to a poll commissioned by the CNN news network. Many in the party want to use the issue to campaign ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.The House of Representatives had accused Trump of inciting violence on Jan. 6 and opened a second impeachment trial against him. In the Senate, however, the Republican had been acquitted.
Officially, the ex-president has not commented on the demonstration. However, he said Thursday that he thinks and feels for the people who were so "unfairly" persecuted in the wake of the Jan. 6 protests against the "stolen election." Trump has no interest in restoring calm in Washington.At least there is hope that the fences will not again restrict access to Congress for six months or more. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger has announced, "If all goes well, they'll be taken down very soon after that."
Photo by PartTime Portraits