Law enforcement officers came out in huge numbers to surround the Capitol on Saturday over concerns that a rally in support of detained Jan. 6 rioters would be marked by violence. Turns out all the concern was for naught as journalists and officers far outnumbered the attendees. Overall there were somewhere between 400 to 450 people inside the designated protest area, the Capitol Police said. But many of those were likely just journalists and bystanders and the real number of participants was likely closer to 200. The number of protesters was so small that a one point journalist lined up for interviews. Throughout the whole day, police arrested only four people and seized two weapons.
Organizers had called the rally “Justice for J6,” in reference to the date in which supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol. In anticipation, law enforcement put up fencing around the Capitol fearing the rally could become violent. But it ended in less than 90 minutes and no significant incidents were reported. The low turnout wasn’t really all that surprising considering many key figures on the right had discouraged people from attending. Simultaneous events held across the country also saw few attendees. In an interview earlier this week, Trump called the rally a “setup,” characterizing it as a lose-lose situation for his supporters. “If people don’t show up they’ll say, ‘Oh, it’s a lack of spirit.’ And if people do show up they’ll be harassed,” he said.
More than 600 people have been arrested since the Jan. 6 riots and more than 50 of them have pleaded guilty.