The Justice for J6 rally in front of the US Capitol began at noon on Saturday. There were much more police officers, journalists, and counter-demonstrators present than the estimated 150 to 200 protesters.
The melodies of Italian soprano Andrea Bocelli's hallmark "Con te partirò" began blasting over the Mall at loud volume a few minutes before the scheduled start.
Robert Jimenez, an audio engineer and owner of Silver Spring, Maryland-based "All About Shows," admitted that he always does his soundchecks with opera. He stated he received the gig three weeks prior from Matt Braynard, a former Trump administration official, and the "Look Forward America" group, along with a 50% deposit for the $7500 sound system, stage, and video screen.
"I have to submit my ID and business license to the police for any event we do here, so I need at least five days' notice," he explained. "I currently have five employees, including myself, and three volunteers." For power, we had to bring generators."
Capitol police used the city was determined to avoid the startling and violent scene that occurred on Jan. 6, when thousands of demonstrators stormed the Capitol. Capitol police used new riot armor and shields to make a show of force. Six hundred and forty-three suspected rioters would later face criminal charges.
The Proud Boys and other right-wing organizations advised people to stay away in the days building up to Saturday's event.
A woman from Maryland identified herself simply as Kesia and said she attended the demonstration on January 6.
"I'll be out here again," she remarked, "and I was here on January 6th, and I'm not ashamed to say that."
A young man wearing a raccoon-fur hat was a little more reserved. He wouldn't say where he was from or if he was in the Capitol on Jan. 6. He also wouldn't know his name. "I'm never going to say anything about myself or where I was on any given day." They should never have been detained in the first place. "I just want to be seen," he added, adding that the Biden government was illegitimate in his opinion.
He explained that he built his hat utilizing the "frontiersman's method."
"You take the raccoon and cut it across the back, starting at the base of the feet. Then you cut a brim around the front, attach the feet to the curve's beginning, and finish stitching the inside. That is all there is to it. It's something I do as a pastime. While I'm at work, I'll be viewing videos. "It'll take you 20-25 minutes," he said.
The demonstrators had a small turnout due to the police and a significant media presence. Tim Smith, a counter-protester, arrived with a handcrafted sign that read "LOSER" in the style of the 2020 Trump campaign signs.
Former President Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 presidential election and claimed it was due to voter fraud, was mocked on the sign.
Geraldine Lovell, of Prince George's County, Maryland, was one of the first protestors to arrive. Police told her that if she were counter-protesting, she would have to move to a nearby but physically isolated place that they had planned. She told the officers that she was in favor of the rally.
Thomas Ritchie, another demonstrator, said he moved to Washington DC four months ago after living in Helena, Montana, for the previous 11 years. The staff he was carrying was a gift from his Montana church, he added.
He explained, "I'm wearing a sackcloth because of everything that is wrong and evil in the world." "I know something big is going to happen, but I don't know what it will be or when it will happen." "We assassinate people for the sake of assassinating people."
Matt Braynard, a former Trump employee, arranged the protest. When asked to identify himself by a journalist, Braynard said, "you should do your homework," and walked away.
Diane Atkins identifies as a "Diane *Anglo-Saxon* Atkins" and goes by "Proud Christian American, Republican, activist."
Behind her, a member of a private security team defending the state and rally speakers wore a mask with the words "I can't breathe" and "Black Lives Matter." written on it.
None of the guards identified themselves or answered inquiries about their duties.
Jeremiah Shivers, together with his family and Great Dane, traveled from Massachusetts to attend the event. "Abolish the Democrats." was written on the dog's sign.
On Saturday, officers made four arrests and seized two guns.
There were no injuries recorded.