Photo credit: Jo Freeman

Capitol Hill Police, who were under-prepared for the January 6, 2021 riot, were over-prepared for the “Justice for J6 ” rally just west of the reflecting pool at the Capitol on September 18.

Tall fences surrounded the Capitol itself. Metal barriers wrapped around the designated protest area. Jersey barriers kept unauthorized vehicles from entering. DC Sanitation trucks blocked streets and access to the National Mall.

Some cops wore so much riot gear that it’s amazing that they didn’t melt in the heat.

The permit requested by Look Ahead America (LAA) said there would be 700 people attending to show support for the 643 people who were charged with crimes for invading the Capitol on January 6.  The Capitol Police estimated that 400-450 actually came.

There were so many media from all over the world that it’s hard to distinguish those who came to participate from those who came to observe.

These two journalists said they were from the United Arab Emirates

There were some counter-protestors at the rally site.

Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry of CodePink

However, most of them gathered 1.3 miles away at Freedom Plaza, where tents sheltered about 50 people from the hot sun.

Several speakers addressed the crowd from a small platform guarded by private security.

None of the private security guards would disclose the name of their employer.  All but one were African-American.

The chief speaker and MC at the rally was Matt Braynard, the founder and Executive Director of LAA.

Braynard’s online bio says he was “Director of Data and Strategy for the Trump campaign.” However, his name does not appear in Michael C. Bender’s recently published book on that campaign.

LAA press releases said Members of Congress would speak, but none came.  Two men spoke who are candidates for the US House of Representatives.

Mike Collins of Georgia, owner of a trucking company, is running in the Republican primary for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District. The election will be on May 22, 2022.

Although the rally was aimed at Trump supporters, participants were discouraged from bringing campaign insignia.  There were only a few whose attire proclaimed their loyalty to Trump.

Or their partisanship.

Patriotism was the dominant theme, with American flags outnumbering all others.

The carrier of these three flags said the Chinese flag was on top to show the direction this country is going. The upside-down American flag is a distress symbol.

Most signs were homemade

Except for a few Look Ahead America posters

Press reports said there were two arrests during the rally.

Police walk one young man out of the rally area and through the metal barriers.

Overall, it was a very peaceful gathering without incidents. It lasted a little over an hour.

Jo Freeman is a feminist scholar and author.

Copyright © 2021 by Jo Freeman