On Saturday, Sept. 18, hundreds of people arrived at the Capitol to peacefully protest the incarceration of individuals who participated in the Jan. 6 riots.
The rally protested “the tyrannical and inhumane treatment of the January 6 political prisoners who have been targeted by the Department of Justice and FBI,” according to rally organizers, Look Ahead America.
Executive Director of Look Ahead America Matt Braynard spoke to CNN’s Jessica Schneider about the purpose of the event.
“The vast majority of the nearly 600 people that have been arrested have not been charged with any violence,” Braynard said. “They’ve been charged with expressing their First Amendment rights in a public building at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Schneider said everyone has been charged for a reason.
“Either they illegally entered the Capitol, or they committed violence,” Schneider said. “There have also been charges for conspiracy.”
Many politicians and citizens however, said they feared this rally could have led to something equal to or worse than what occurred at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Considering this planned event, Congressional leaders and security personnel prepared the Capitol for what NPR described as “the first large-scale security test to the Capitol since the attack on the complex by a pro-Trump mob.”
Some of the security measures taken involved putting up a fence around the Capitol, as well as maximizing police officers and other security guards both inside and outside the building.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was very pleased with the precautions being taken.
“They seem very well prepared, much better prepared than Jan. 6.,” Schumer said, “I think they are ready for whatever might happen.”
As it turns out, not much happened.
What was made out to be a sequel for the Jan. 6 riots ended up being a peaceful protest with only about 400 to 450 attendees, according to Capitol Police.
According to Fox News, the media outlets and Capitol Police outnumbered the protestors themselves.
Politico said there were, however, some arrests made. These arrests included a man with a knife, two men with firearm possessions and a man who violated probation.
Crowd scarcity could have been because some conservative sources ended up dissuading people from attending the rally at the last minute.
According to the Gateway Pundit, the FBI was “running informants and operatives in the crowd” during the Jan. 6 riots and believed Antifa were the real insurrectionists disguised in Trump gear.
The Gateway Pundit and other Conservative sources feared that something similar would happen during Saturday’s rally.
One individual one the Conservative Facebook group TheDonald, expressed his fear of a trap.
“Any protest after J6 is primed to be a false flag,” the user said, “you can’t talk about that ‘next level’ here either without the Feds busting down your door.”
The Gateway Pundit also posted on their website, encouraging people who were going to the rally to keep an eye out for any infiltrators.
“If you are planning on attending the Sept. 18th rally in Washington DC- film anything suspicious.” the Gateway Pundit posted on their website., “Make sure you have your phone and camera ready and confront anyone acting suspiciously.”
After the event, CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz said Saturday’s scarce rally left Conservative rally-goers upset at former President Donald Trump.
“Some were upset at the former president because they felt that he, by coming out and saying people shouldn’t come, wasn’t strong enough in support,” said Prokupecz.
Despite all the fears and concerns building up to Saturday’s event, protestors did not become violent nor did Antifa try to trap anybody.