Four people taken into custody after the Justice for January 6 Rally at the United States Capitol

Written By Caitlyn Scott, News Editor

On Sept. 18, 2021, demonstrations took place outside of the United States Capitol to demand justice for citizens still facing charges in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection within Washington D.C.

Formerly known as the ‘Justice for J6 Rally’ organized by Executive Director of ‘Look Ahead America’ Matthew Braynard, Forbes reported that over 400 people lined the police perimeter outside of the Capitol, falling short of the organization’s 700 sign-ups for attendance.

Dave Richards, retired North Strabane Township Police Sergeant of Washington, Pennsylvania, said it was within the demonstrators’ right to peacefully protest.

“Everyone in this country has the right to protest, that’s your constitutional right,” Richards said. “As long as you’re not infringing on someone else’s rights. Obviously, you can’t break into a secure area, that’s a crime.”

This rally, expressing opposition towards the sentencing of nonviolent Capitol rioters, comes eight months after the initial insurrection that evolved due to oppositions of the 2020 election results.

“I think that the 2020 election could be the last free and fair election that we will hold,” Brendan McNamara, a journalism student at Point Park said. “There is no justification whatsoever for the truly horrific events of Jan. 6. The pretense for the rally was built on a conspiracy theory about a stolen election, of which there is no evidence.”

According to NPR, most of those who are charged in the storming of the Capitol back in January face allegations related to trespassing onto Capitol grounds, with some having more serious charges and greater threat of prison time.

The Capitol insurrection that took place on Jan. 6, 2021 resulted in the death of five people, the assault of over 140 police enforcement and resulted in an estimated $1.5 million in damages, according to Daily Mail News.

Days leading up to the event, authorities put several security precautions in place in anticipation of the rally potentially spiraling out of control like on Jan. 6, 2021. CBS News reported that United States Capitol Police erected a temporary fence around the Capitol in preparation for the rally and issued an emergency declaration to allow the department to ‘deputize outside law enforcement officers as U.S. Capitol Police special officers.’

Along with the deputizing of outside departments, AirForce Times reported that the Defence Department also requested aid from the United States National Guard, who were mobilized within Washington D.C.’s armory, which is an estimated 10-minute drive from the Capitol.

“I think the means of protection depends on both sides of the political parties,” Wesley McWee, Secretary of ‘The Critic’ Newspaper at Northern Vermont University-Lydon said ahead of the rally. “I think the measures that they are taking are pretty good, but there is a question if it is too little or not enough.”

Following the J6 rally, Capitol Police announced a total of four arrests on Saturday. One suspect is facing charges of a weapons violation against a man with a knife, another for allegedly bearing a firearm on the premises, and two for firearm charges and probation violations. Police also announced the separation of an altercation between a group of protestors and counterprotesters, according to NPR. The altercation ended without incident.

“I think that there are still a lot of people that are unhappy with the past election and what is currently going on in our government right now,” Richards said. “There will be more rallies in the future for sure.”

Look Ahead America has also opened registrations for statewide Justice for J6 rallies on their official website within 17 states to take place on Sept. 25.

The Look Ahead America Organization did not respond to multiple requests for comment.