The January 6 rally at the Capitol was small and peaceful. But that was exactly what the organizers wanted. They want to tell an alternate truth.
“Wolves in sheep’s clothing will be among us” – so it says on the pieces of paper that a woman from Iowa is handing out in front of the Capitol in the US capital Washington. She printed out a whole batch of them in color to warn of people who allegedly want to cause unrest at the demonstration on Saturday afternoon.
As was the case on January 6th, when, according to many state agents and the Antifa, instigated the violent assault on the Capitol. The “real evil” is easy to expose, says the woman. The recipe for this is on their slips of paper: One should simply involve suspicious people in conversations about God. The wolves, the evil “do not like to talk about Jesus Christ our Savior”.
Liberation of the “political prisoners”
The Americans who went to Washington this weekend to demonstrate with the slogan “Justice for January 6th” come from all over the country. Some by car from Florida, others by plane from Arizona or Massachusetts. In fact, it’s only a few hundred. In the meantime it seems that there are even more reporters, journalists and police officers. But the whole world had followed the storming of the Capitol live. The interest is correspondingly great, even if it is basically clear that there will be no new storm on this day.
That is not what the organizers want, but rather to send a signal: Look here! We are peaceful and we were so in January too. What the media and the Democrats are saying is wrong. The story was very different.
The demonstrators are united by a mix of common convictions: the events of January 6th were instigated by the FBI, the Antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement. Donald Trump is the rightful winner of a rigged election. Those who took Trump hats or T-Shirts carried, were agents of the other side. The many hundreds of detainees were all innocent, ultimately artificially incited, actually peaceful visitors to the capital and therefore now political prisoners.
Few come, but from everywhere
Adam and Ron from Florida (Source: Bastian Brauns)
Adam and Ron have just been equipped with two US flags and are walking to the small stage in front of the Capitol, which this time is spacious and cordoned off by a high fence. “Back then, the police let people in on purpose,” Adam is convinced. It was a trap. They are now here to peacefully demonstrate for the release of the detainees. You came from Florida by car. “You can still do that in this country,” says Ron.
Thomas and Charmaine from Arizona (Source: Bastian Brauns)
Thomas came from Arizona with his mother Charmaine. She looks young, could also be his older sister. When she is asked about it, she flirts and says: “That is what capitalism and Jesus Christ do.” CNN is written on the sign she is holding. She expanded the letters to: “C orrupt News Network.” Thomas charges on his sign that the police murdered an unarmed citizen on January 6th. It alludes to Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a police officer while trying to penetrate further into the Capitol with the mob.
A good eight months after the Capitol storm, only around 500 demonstrators came to Washington, according to police, in a capital with around 700,000 and a country with around 330 million inhabitants – and yet the media attention is on this event. It seems like the rapporteur’s old dilemma of making a small matter bigger than it is through mass reporting. But the trauma is deep and also the anger about those who now want to play down the incidents.
A well-known Trumpist as an organizer
Just the day before, House Democratic spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi drew a drastic comparison. During a performance in London, she expressed how terrible January 6th had been for US democracy. The attacks of September 11th were an attack from outside. “What happened on January 6th was an attack from within. Both were appalling,” said Pelosi.
Contrary to what some expected, Republican members of Congress did not come to the Capitol. Only two Republicans who would like to be elected in the 2022 midterm elections speak on stage. It’s Mike Collins from Georgia and Joe Kent from Washington. They too speak of “political prisoners” who are being subjected to a great injustice.
The main organizer of this “Justice for J6” rally set great store by appearing politically neutral. Matt Braynard, a former campaign strategist for Donald Trump and founder of the pro-Trump organization “Look Ahead America”, had clearly warned the participants not to bring any political symbols with them. No red MAGA (Make America Great Again) hats should be worn because it is purely about the cause: justice for the “political prisoners”, according to Braynard.
Even now he repeats it in front of those present. Braynard obviously has to admonish them: “Be friendly to the police! Be friendly to the media!” He even tries to suppress boos over and over again. When the leftist Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appears at a photo presentation he showed, he interrupts the angry crowd: “No! We don’t boo anyone. No, we don’t do that either.” Instead, he has a prayer said for the January 6th dead. “Amen.”
The wolf in sheep’s clothing, it seems, is not Antifa, but Braynard. Otherwise he appears regularly with the right-wing extremist, agitator and Breitbart News founder Steve Bannon, in his podcast “Bannon’s War Room”. But now he is concerned with the images to be generated. To show that it is only a matter of demanding constitutional loyalty and freedom of expression. Again and again he and the other speakers mention the first amendment to the American constitution: freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of religion.
Trump declares his solidarity with the prisoners
Braynard lets speak to a father named Jeff. His son has been in prison for months, innocent of course. A woman comes on stage, emphasizing her Asian-Italian roots. She sees herself as proof that there are no white racists here. You voted for Bill Clinton and twice for Barack Obama. But then Donald Trump. “The mainstream media drawers are failing,” she says, promoting her website and social media account. There one would learn the truth.
Even if Donald Trump is not to be the subject of this Saturday, the ex-president did not leave his supporters in doubt about how much he appreciates their political commitment in the capital. Two days before the demonstration, he tried once more to pose as the legitimate President of the United States. And although he did not mention the name of the Washington event, it was clear who his words should be addressed to.
“Our hearts and minds go to those people who are being persecuted in such an unfair way in connection with the January 6 protests against the rigged presidential elections,” Trump said in a statement. This judicial procedure proves, along with everything else, extremely instructive, that one is dealing with a two-class judicial system in the USA. It was probably not by chance that he then used a formulation from a Bible psalm. “Justice will prevail!” Was his divinely comforting proclamation, and justice would be restored.
The confused and their seducers
Geraldine from Maryland (Source: Bastian Brauns)
However, many of those present also seem confused on this hot afternoon in Washington. An elderly woman, who goes by the name of Geraldine Lavell, wears army green aviator overalls and the US flag is upside down on a stick. This is actually strictly prohibited in the United States.
What is she trying to express? “You must never turn the national flag upside down. I know that. Except to signal that your life is in danger,” she says. The nation is in an emergency. She points to the ranks of armored police officers in front of the US Capitol. “They are the wrong way round. They should turn around and protect us, not the Capitol. That is where the criminals and the criminals sit.” She apologizes in advance for her rude expression and then says about the acute refugee situation on the border with Mexico: “No one gives a damn fuck!”
A protester with a raccoon hat (Source: Bastian Brauns)
A young man, who doesn’t want to give his name under any circumstances, carries a dead raccoon on his head. Many camera teams pounced on him directly. For a photo he pulls the fur extra deep over his face. No, he was not inspired by the man with the famous buffalo head on January 6th. “I make my hats myself,” he says. Then he keeps walking around and a moment later a few bars talking to Geraldine.
Otherwise, the demonstration in Washington remains calm. There is only a little excitement for a moment. Policemen push a man to the ground and immediately form a circle. All around, reporters immediately film with their cameras and smartphones. A bearded protester intervenes with a bag of popcorn in his hand. Again and again he reaches into it. It’s a good way to entertain.
When the short spectacle is over, the police lead the demonstration into a large detour. A confrontation with counter-demonstrators should be avoided. Loud rap music can be heard from a loudspeaker in the counter-demonstration: “Fuck Donald Trump.” A cop, sweating in the heat, takes a few steps to a small refrigerator truck on Pennsylvania Avenue. He orders a cream sundae with chocolate sauce. “I burn other things here,” he says. Otherwise there isn’t much to do that day.
Matt Braynard has achieved his most important goal. He has produced those peaceful images that he can use to wash them into his own news channels. He wants to reinterpret the story of January 6th and stir up a diffuse feeling of injustice across the country. Until the day when it can discharge again, even if there is an election. A man in front of the fence at the Capitol shouts: “They weren’t terrorists on January 6th, they were lifesavers.”