WASHINGTON ― A far-right rally in support of those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 fizzled out amid fears that law enforcement might track the extremists who showed up for it.
Members of the media and law enforcement outnumbered the far-right insurrectionist supporters who showed up near the Capitol on Saturday to protest the hundreds of arrests that have been made in connection with the Jan. 6 riot that is linked to the deaths of five people and the injury of more than 140 law enforcement officers.
The organizer for the “Justice for J6” rally, former Donald Trump campaign operative Matt Braynard, had previously said he expected up to 700 people to show up for the rally. Instead, it appeared that fewer than 100 people showed up to protest the arrests of Capitol attackers. The rally wrapped up by about 2 p.m. local time.
Among those who did show up was a man who sang a song about Ashli Babbitt, one of the people who died on Jan. 6 after she was shot by a law enforcement officer when she tried to climb through a broken window to reach lawmakers being shepherded to safety inside the Capitol.
Another man, a 70-year-old retiree named Gary who declined to give his last name, told HuffPost he wasn’t surprised to see such a small turnout.
“There’s more law enforcement here than there are demonstrators,” he said. “That’s absurd.”
Right-wing researchers like Jared Holt had said that online chatter among extremists suggested few people would show for fear of a trap by law enforcement. Far-right figures, including Gab CEO Andrew Torba and QAnon conspiracy leader Ron Watkins, encouraged their followers not to attend for fear of ― as Torba put it ― becoming “a political prisoner of the state.”
Members of the violent gang the Proud Boys also opted not to show, with one member suggesting that the rally “sounds like bait,” Holt pointed out in his Substack newsletter.
As he was leaving the rally, Braynard told HuffPost he had “no idea” how many people had attended.