Barely anybody showed up to a Saturday event in D.C. near the Capitol that was put together in support of participants in the Capitol riot, some of whom are jailed. Zachary Petrizzo with The Daily Beast pinned total attendees at a few dozen or so.
Some of the rioters — those facing less serious charges, like misdemeanor offenses of illegally parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol building, which is a trespassing charge that maxes out at six months in jail — are seeing their cases move along without much if any time in jail at all, and many have taken plea deals, helping lower their sentences. Thomas Webster, who received one of the longest sentences imposed on any rioter so far, with ten years in prison, violently attacked and tackled a cop during the riot after maniacally swinging a metal flagpole so hard it broke on a metal bike rack that temporarily separated members of the mob from law enforcement. After the officer took a portion of the pole Webster was still holding, the now convicted rioter engaged in the high-energy assault in which he also grabbed onto the cop’s gear, choking him on the ground.
In other words, people at the riot (including one who hit police 16 times with a baseball bat amid other assaults, leaving one officer with swelling for weeks) engaged in serious violence, even if one of the arguments from people like those at the Saturday D.C. event that flopped is that whatever happened at the Capitol wasn’t that bad at all. According to Petrizzo, there were around the same number of protesters against the Saturday gathering as attendees. Those actually participating in the event included individuals involved with the successor group to the so-called People’s Convoy, named the 1776 Restoration Movement (which isn’t all that large). An August report from The Washington Post put the size of the follow-up movement in the dozens. “I’m disappointed,” participant Tom Fisher — a real, actual human being — somehow said. “I thought once we occupied D.C., people would come out.” What? Does he know this is the real world, where people have jobs and don’t live in the real-life video game fantasies where so many right-wingers congregate?
Anyway, David Riddell — an organizer — wasn’t concerned about the baseball bats. “To treat everybody just because they are part of a day like they were vicious criminals… I know they’re not,” he said when asked about one of the rioters who carried one on January 6. Asked why he was there, speaker and anti-reality activist David Clements said: “There are people being held on misdemeanor charges, having their due process rights violated… Isn’t that enough?” It’s unclear anyone is in pretrial detention on misdemeanor allegations alone. If they are — or if he was referring to those serving jail sentences — there are numerous procedural safeguards in place.
Counter-protesters in D.C. Saturday used bullhorns, shouting phrases like the ditty: “Trump is a loser, a little baby loser.” It seems like they had more fun than the event attendees. So did those at Fiesta D.C., a Mexican festival that — in terms of volume — overshadowed the pro-rioter debacle. Petrizzo noted those gathered in D.C. didn’t even settle on a cohesive message: “With mixed messages flying as one speaker replaced the next, one thing remained constant: confusion over whether to be proud of the events of Jan. 6, bill it as a set-up by the feds, or say rioters did nothing wrong.”