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US Capitol attack

Far-right groups tell supporters planned Washington rally is a government ‘trap’


Story by Lois Beckett

Story   Source

Published on September 18, 2021 2:00 AM
 
 
Rightwing forums and prominent figures claim event is ‘false flag’ but police brace for violence Saturday’s “Justice for J6” rally is being organized by Look Ahead America, a group run by Matt Braynard, who was briefly employed by Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign as the director of data and strategy, BuzzFeed News reported in August.
 
Extremist groups and prominent rightwing figures are warning supporters not to attend a far-right rally in support of the people arrested for participating in the 6 January Capitol attack, calling the event a "false flag" and a "trap".

Capitol police are bracing for potential violence at the "Justice for J6" protest rally, which is taking place in Washington DC on Saturday, and security fencing has gone up once more around the Capitol building.

But local and federal officials have also said that they expect no more than 700 people to attend the protest, a far cry from the estimated tens of thousands of supporters of Donald Trump who converged on the Capitol in January. The approval for the fence is almost certain to be granted as security officials believe it remains the most efficient method to secure the Capitol. Top security officials to reinstall Capitol fence ahead of far-right rally Read more

Across rightwing social media platforms, "most people who are talking about the event in any capacity are telling people to steer clear of DC," Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said. "Any extremist group that's talking about it is warning people against attending."

The common narrative in rightwing forums is that the rally is "a trap that's been set by federal authorities" that will leave participants vulnerable to "surveillance and arrest", Miller said. Advertisement

While intelligence officials reportedly warned in early September that the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers were planning to attend the rally, both groups, whose members are facing some of the most serious charges in the 6 January attack, have since distanced themselves from the event. A Proud Boys social media channel posted "Sounds like bait" and wrote "We aren't going and you shouldn't either". In an interview on his way to jail, the group's chairman, Enrique Tarrio, said: "The Proud Boys will not be there," WUSA 9 reported.

"I do not know of any specific plan to attend, other than what we are watching the media fabricate," Kelly SoRelle, a lawyer for the Oath Keepers, told Mother Jones.

The Fox News host Laura Ingraham called the rally "stupid" and told her viewers she had never heard of it before she saw a report about it on CNN.

"Many people" see the protest as "even a false flag operation", Ingraham warned on 10 September. "Have any big-name conservatives signed on? Of course not. Obviously there's nothing legitimate about it."

Even a Facebook discussion hosted by...

Background

On January 6, 2021, the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., was violently attacked by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump. They sought to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election by disrupting the joint session of Congress assembled to count electoral votes that would formalize President-elect Joe Biden's victory. The Capitol Complex was locked down and lawmakers and staff were evacuated, while rioters assaulted law enforcement officers and vandalized the building for several hours. Five people died either shortly before, during, or following the event: one was shot by Capitol Police, another died of a drug overdose, and three succumbed to natural causes. Many people were injured, including 138 police officers. Four officers who responded to the riot died by suicide within seven months. Called to action by Trump, thousands of his supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., on January 5 and 6 to support his false claim that the 2020 election had been 'stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats', and to demand that Vice President Mike Pence and Congress reject Biden's victory. Starting at noon on January 6, at a 'Save America' rally on the Ellipse, Trump repeated false claims of election irregularities and said, 'If you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore'. During and after his speech, thousands of attendees walked to the Capitol and hundreds breached police perimeters, as Congress was beginning the electoral vote count. Many in the crowd broke into the building, occupying, vandalizing, and looting it, assaulting Capitol Police officers and reporters, and attempting to locate lawmakers to capture and harm. Some rioters chanted 'Hang Mike Pence' after Pence rejected false claims by Trump and others that the vice president could overturn the election results. Some vandalized and looted the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of congress. With building security breached, Capitol Police evacuated and locked down both chambers of congress and several buildings in the Capitol Complex. Rioters occupied and looted the empty Senate chamber while federal law enforcement officers defended the evacuated House floor. Pipe bombs were found at the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee, and Molotov cocktails were discovered in a vehicle near the Capitol. Despite this, Trump resisted sending the National Guard to quell the mob.

Later that afternoon, in a Twitter video, Trump reasserted that the election was 'fraudulent', but told his supporters to 'go home in peace'. The Capitol was clear of rioters by mid-evening, and the counting of the electoral votes resumed and completed in the early morning hours of January 7. Pence declared Pesident-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris victorious. Pressured by his administration, the threat of removal, and many resignations, Trump later committed to an orderly transition of power in a televised statement. A week after the riot, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for incitement of insurrection, making him the only U.S. president to have been impeached twice. In February, after Trump had left office, the Senate acquitted him: 43 senators found Trump not guilty, 57 found him guilty. The House passed a bill to create a bipartisan independent commission modeled after the 9/11 Commission to investigate the attack, but it was blocked by Republicans in the Senate. Pelosi then proposed, and the House approved, a House select committee to investigate the attack.

Dozens of people present in Washington, D.C. on the day, including some who took part in the riot, were found to be listed in the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database, most as suspected white supremacists. Members of anti-government groups, including the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Three Percenters, were charged with conspiracy for allegedly staging planned missions at the Capitol. By early September, 638 people were charged with federal crimes relating to the attack. Donald Trump's speech
An image of Trump delivering his rally speech from behind a bulletproof shield was projected onto this screen at the rally Starting at 11:58, from behind a bulletproof shield, Trump gave a speech, declaring he would 'never concede' the election, criticizing the media and calling for Pence to overturn the election results, something outside Pence's constitutional power. His speech contained many falsehoods and misrepresentations that inflamed the crowd. Trump did not overtly call on his supporters to use violence or enter the Capitol, but his speech was filled with violent imagery and Trump suggested that his supporters had the power to prevent Biden from taking office. The same afternoon, Pence released a letter to Congress in which he said he could not challenge Biden's victory.

Trump called for his supporters to 'walk down to the Capitol' to 'cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them.' He told the crowd that he would be with them, but he ultimately did not go to the Capitol. As to counting Biden's electoral votes, Trump said, 'We can't let that happen' and suggested Biden would be an 'illegitimate president.' Referring to the day of the elections, Trump said, 'most people would stand there at 9:00 in the evening and say, 'I want to thank you very much,' and they go off to some other life, but I said, 'Something's wrong here. Something's really wrong. can't have happened.' And we fight. We fight like Hell and if you don't fight like Hell, you're not going to have a country anymore'.:?01:11:44? He said the protesters would be 'going to the Capitol and we're going to try and give the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.' Trump also said, 'you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated'.

File:BBN films unidentfied agitator for march on -USCapitol prior to Donald Trump speech -MarchForTrump.webm A Trump supporter directing attendees of the 'Save America' rally to the Capitol He denounced Representative Liz Cheney , saying, 'We've got to get rid of the weak Congresspeople, the ones that aren't any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world'. He called upon his supporters to 'fight much harder' against 'bad people'; told the crowd that 'you are allowed to go by very different rules,' said that his supporters were 'not going to take it any longer'; framed the moment as the last stand, suggested that Pence and other Republican officials put themselves in danger by accepting Biden's victory; and told the crowd he would march with them to the Capitol. In addition to the twenty times he used the term 'fight,' Trump once used the term 'peacefully,' saying, 'I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard'.

During Trump's speech, his supporters chanted 'Take the Capitol,' 'Taking the Capitol right now,' 'Invade the Capitol,' 'Storm the Capitol' and 'Fight for Trump'. The New York Times places the fall of the first barriers at 1:03 p.m. Before Trump had finished speaking at 1:12 p.m., an estimated eight thousand supporters had already begun moving up the National Mall, with some shouting that they were storming the Capitol. After completing his speech, Trump went back to the White House on the presidential motorcade, arriving at 1:19 p.m. At some point afterward, Trump went to the Oval Office and started watching news coverage of the attack.

Attack on the Capitol During his January 6 speech, Trump called upon supporters to walk to the Capitol. Just before the attack, pipe bombs were discovered near the Capitol. Attackers besieged and ultimately breached the Capitol. Members of the Congress barricaded themselves in the chamber, and one attacker was fatally shot by police while attempting to breach a barricade.

After officials at the Pentagon delayed deployment of the National Guard citing concerns about optics, D.C. Mayor Bowser requested assistance from the Governor of Virginia. By 3:15, Virginia state assets begin arriving in D.C. After Vice President Pence and the Congress were evacuated to secure locations, law enforcement cleared and secured the Capitol.

March to the Capitol

Proud Boys in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building On January 6, Trump supporters filled The Ellipse, about 1.6 miles from the Capitol, just south of the White House grounds. Signs around the stage carried the slogan 'Save America March'. Speeches began at 9:00. While they continued, a Proud Boys contingent left the rally at 10:58 to march toward the Capitol Building. As they set off, Ethan Nordean used a megaphone to issue instructions and said: 'if you're not a Proud Boy, please get out of the wa'y. Another leader, Joe Biggs, used a walkie-talkie for communications. President Trump arrived and began speaking about noon. Throughout his speech, he encouraged the crowd to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. Before he had finished speaking, members of the crowd began walking toward the Capitol 'in a steady stream'. Around 12:30, a 'fairly calm' crowd of about 300 built up east of the Capitol. Senator Josh Hawley , a leader of the group of lawmakers who vowed to challenge the Electoral College vote, greeted these protesters with a raised fist as he passed by on his way to the joint session of Congress in the early afternoon.

Bombs discovered near Capitol Complex This section is an excerpt from Law enforcement response to the 2021 United States Capitol attack § Bombs discovered near Capitol Complex.

FBI Wanted Poster offering $100,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual who placed two pipe bombs Around 12:45 p.m., a bomb was discovered next to a building containing Republican National Committee offices by a woman using the shared alleyway to access her apartment building's laundry room. She alerted RNC security, which investigated and summoned law enforcement; Police arrived 'almost immediately. U.S. Capitol Police, FBI agents and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives all responded to the RNC bomb.

About thirty minutes later, while officers were still responding at the RNC, they were informed a second pipe bomb had been discovered under a bush at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. The devices were of a similar design – about one foot in length, with end caps and wiring apparently attached to a 60-minute kitchen timer, and containing an unknown powder and some metal. No evidence of a remote detonation method, such as via cell phone, was discovered. They were safely detonated by bomb squads; police later said they were 'hazardous' and could have caused 'great harm'.

Sund told The Washington Post on January 10 that he suspected the pipe bombs were intentionally placed to draw police away from the Capitol; Representative Tim Ryan echoed the sentiment in a virtual news conference on January 11, saying 'we do believe there was some level of coordination ... because of the pipe bombs ... that immediately drew attention away from the breach that was happening.' The Inspector General of the Capitol Police later concluded 'If those pipe bombs were intended to be diversion... it worked'. Siege File:Bodycam video taken at US Capitol, January 6, 2021.webm Bodycam video taken at US Capitol, January 6, 2021 The Proud Boys contingent reached the west perimeter of the Capitol grounds, which was protected by temporary fences in front of a sparse line of police, and other Trump supporters arrived, forming a growing crowd. At 12:51, a man spoke to Biggs. The crowd, headed by this man, rushed the fences and clashed with the police. At 12:53, rioters, including Proud Boys, broke through the barriers and onto the Capitol grounds for the first time. The police struggled to contain them. Meanwhile, at The Ellipse, Oath Keepers wearing black hoodies with prominent logos left the rally at 12:52 and changed into Army Combat Uniforms, with helmets, on their way to the Capitol.

Around 1:00, hundreds of Trump supporters clashed with officers and pushed through barriers along the perimeter of the Capitol. The crowd swept past barriers and officers, with some members of the mob spraying officers with chemical agents or hitting them with lead pipes. Many rioters walked up the external stairways, while some resorted to ropes and makeshift ladders. To gain access, several scaled the west wall. Representative Zoe Lofgren , aware that rioters had reached the Capitol steps, could not reach Steven Sund by phone; House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving told Lofgren the doors to the Capitol were locked and 'nobody can get in.'

Telephone logs released by USCP show that Sund had been coordinating additional resources from various agencies. Sund's first call was to the D.C. Metropolitan Police, who arrived within 15 minutes. Sund called Irving and Stenger at 12:58 and asked them for an emergency declaration required to call in the National Guard; they both told Sund they would 'run it up the chain.' More than an hour later, Irving called back with formal approval.

When Trump had finished his speech, around 1:12, he returned to the White House.

A reliable estimate of the total size of the crowd cannot be ascertained, as aerial photos are not permitted in Washington, D.C., for reasons of security, but the crowd was estimated to be in the thousands.

At 1:50 p.m., the on-scene MPD incident commander declared a riot. At 1:58, Capitol Police officers removed a barricade on the northeast side of the Capitol.

Capitol breach

Trump supporters crowding the steps of the Capitol Just before 2:00 p.m., numerous rioters reached the doors and windows of the Capitol and began attempts to break in. Around 2:11, they used a piece of lumber to break through a window, and began climbing through it into the building moments later. At 2:12, a Proud Boy who had seized a Capitol Police plastic shield used it to smash through another window; by 2:13, the Capitol was breached when the first rioter entered the building, followed by more rioters. The mob streamed into the National Statuary Hall.

As rioters began to invade the Capitol and other nearby buildings, some buildings in the complex were evacuated. Outside the building, the mob punctured the tires of a police vehicle, and left a note saying 'PELOSI IS SATAN' on the windshield. Politico reported some rioters briefly showing their police badges or military identification to law enforcement as they approached the Capitol, expecting, therefore, to be let inside; a Capitol Police officer told BuzzFeed News that one rioter had told him 'e're doing this for you' as he flashed a badge.

Officer Daniel Hodges crushed in doorway Concerned about the approaching mob, Representative Maxine Waters called Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who was not on Capitol grounds but at the police department's headquarters. When asked what the Capitol Police were doing to stop the rioters, Sund told Waters, 'We're doing the best we can' before the line went dead. Although Sund's phone logs released by USCP show no such call taking place.

Federal officials estimate that about ten thousand rioters entered the Capitol grounds, and more than 800 breached the building.

More than 800 video and audio files – including D.C. Metropolitan Police radio transmissions, Capitol Policy body-worn camera footage, and Capitol surveillance camera footage – were later obtained as evidence in Trump's impeachment trial. The evidence showed that the assailants launched a large and coordinated attack; for example, 'Security camera footage near the House chamber shows the rioters waving in reinforcements to come around the corner. Another video shows more than 150 rioters charging through a breached entrance in just a minute-and-a-half'. While assaulting the Capitol, the crowd chanted 'Fight, Fight'; 'Stop the steal'; and 'Fight for Trump'. As they were overrun by a violent mob, the police acted with restraint and pleaded for backup. Many of the attackers employed tactics, body armor and technology similar to those of the very police they were confronting. Some rioters wore riot gear, including helmets and military-style vests. A pair of rioters carried plastic handcuffs, which they found on a table inside the Capitol.

Some of the rioters carried American flags, Confederate battle flags, or Nazi emblems. For the first time in U.S. history, a Confederate battle flag was displayed inside the Capitol. Christian imagery and rhetoric was prevalent. Rioters carried crosses and signs saying, 'Jesus Saves', and 'Jesus 2020'. On the National Mall, rioters chanted, 'Christ is king'. One rioter carried a Christian flag. Rioters referred to the neo-fascist Proud Boys as 'God's warriors'. These were mainly neo-charismatic, prophetic Christians who believed that Trump was prophesied to remain in power and anointed by God to save Christian Americans from religious persecution.

Although a few evangelical leaders supported the riots, most condemned the violence and criticized Trump for inciting the crowd. This criticism came from liberal Christian groups such as the Red-Letter Christians, as well as evangelical groups who were generally supportive of Trump. This criticism did not affect evangelical support for Trump; investigative journalist Sarah Posner, author of Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump, argued that many white evangelical Christians in the U.S. create an echo chamber whereby Trump's missteps are blamed on the Democratic Party, leftists, or the mainstream media, the last of which being viewed as especially untrustworthy.

Senate adjourned File:US Senate goes into recess after protestors breach the Capitol.webm C-SPAN broadcast of the Senate going into recess after protesters infiltrate the Capitol

Congressional staffers removed the Electoral College certificates from the Senate floor as it was evacuated. At the time, the joint session of Congress – which had already voted to accept the nine electoral votes from Alabama and three from Alaska without objection – was split so that each chamber could separately consider an objection to accepting Arizona's electoral votes that had been raised by Representative Paul Gosar and endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz. Both chambers were roughly halfway through their two-hour debate on the motion.

While debate over the Arizona electoral college votes continued, an armed police officer entered the Senate chamber, positioned facing the back entrance of the chamber. Pence handed the floor from Senator Kyrsten Sinema to Senator James Lankford. Moments later, Pence was escorted out by members of the Secret Service. The rioters began to climb the stairs toward the Senate chamber. A lone Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman, worked to slow the mob down as he radioed that they had reached the second floor. Just steps from the still-unsealed Senate chamber doors, the rioters instead followed the Capitol Police officer, leading them back away from the Senate. Banging could be heard from outside as people attempted to breach the doors. As Lankford was speaking, the Senate was gaveled into recess, and the doors were locked at 2:15. A minute later, the rioters reached the gallery outside the chamber. A police officer carrying a semi-automatic weapon appeared on the floor and stood between then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and then Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senator Mitt Romney exasperatedly threw up his hands and directly criticized several fellow Republicans who were challenging President-elect Biden's electoral votes, yelling to them, 'This is what you've gotten, guys'. Several members of Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough's staff carried the boxes of Electoral College votes and documentation out of the chamber to hidden safe rooms within the building.

Due to security threat inside: immediately, move inside your office, take emergency equipment, lock the doors, take shelter.

—Capitol Police alert Trump had made repeated false claims that the vice president had 'unilateral authorit'y to reject electoral college votes and had pressured Pence to overturn the election results, but that morning Pence told Trump he refused to do so, after taking legal advice confirming that there was no such constitutional authority. At 2:24, Trump tweeted that Pence 'didn't have the courage to do what should have been done'. Afterwards, Trump followers on far-right social media called for Pence to be hunted down, and the mob began chanting, 'Where is Pence?' and 'Find Mike Pence!' Outside, the mob chanted, 'Hang Mike Pence!', which some crowds continued to chant as they stormed the Capitol; at least three rioters were overheard by a reporter saying they wanted to find Pence and execute him as a 'traitor' by hanging him from a tree outside the building. All buildings in the complex were subsequently locked down, with no entry or exit from the buildings allowed. Capitol staff were asked to move into offices and lock their doors and windows; those outside were advised to 'seek cover'.

As the mob roamed the Capitol, lawmakers, aides, and staff took shelter in offices and closets. Aides to Mitch McConnell, barricaded in a room just off a hallway, heard a rioter outside the door 'praying loudl'y, asking for 'the evil of Congress be brought to an end'. The rioters entered and ransacked the office of the Senate Parliamentarian.

With senators still in the chamber, Trump reached Senator Tommy Tuberville by phone and told him to do more to block the counting of Biden's electoral votes. The call had to be cut off when the Senate chamber was evacuated at 2:30. After evacuation, the mob briefly took control of the chamber, with some armed and armored men carrying plastic handcuffs and some posing with raised fists on the Senate dais that Pence had left minutes earlier. Pence's wife Karen Pence, daughter Charlotte Pence Bond, and brother Greg Pence were in the Capitol at the time it was attacked. As Pence and his family were being escorted from the Senate chamber to a nearby hideaway, they came within a minute of being visible to rioters on a staircase only 100 feet away. It was reportedly intended for Pence to be evacuated from the Capitol Complex entirely, but he refused to do so, saying that seeing his '20-car motorcade fleeing ... would only vindicate their insurrection'.

Staff and reporters inside the building were taken by secure elevators to the basement and then to an underground bunker constructed following the attempted attack on the Capitol in 2001. Evacuees were redirected while en route after the bunker was also infiltrated by the mob.

Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate Michael C. Stenger accompanied a group of senators including Lindsey Graham and Joe Manchin to a secure location in a Senate office building. Once safe, the lawmakers were 'furious' with Stenger; Graham asked him, 'How does this happen? How does this happen?' and added that they ' not going to be run out by a mob'.

House recessed Meanwhile, in the House chamber around 2:15 while Gosar was speaking, Speaker Pelosi was escorted out of the chamber. The House was gaveled into recess, but would resume a few minutes later. Amid the security concerns, Representative Dean Phillips yelled, 'This is because of you!' at his Republican colleagues. The House resumed debate around 2:25. About 2:30, when Gosar finished speaking, the House went into recess again. The rioters had entered the House wing and were attempting to enter the Speaker's Lobby just outside the House chamber. Lawmakers were still inside and being evacuated, with Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy and a few others taken to a secure location. With violence breaking out, Capitol security advised the members of Congress to take cover. Members of Congress inside the House chamber were told to put on gas masks as law enforcement had begun using tear gas within the building.

File:Video shot by Congressman Dan Kildee D-Flint - via Michael Moore on Facebook Watch.webm Video shot inside the House of Representatives chamber showing armed security blocking the doors ABC News reported that shots were fired within the Capitol. An armed standoff took place at the front door of the chamber of the House of Representatives: as the mob attempted to break in, federal law enforcement officers drew their guns inside and pointed them toward the chamber doors, which were barricaded with furniture. In a stairway, one officer fired a shot at a man coming toward him. Photographer Erin Schaff said that, from the Capitol Rotunda, she ran upstairs, where rioters grabbed her press badge. Police found her, and, as her press pass had been stolen, they held her at gunpoint before her colleagues intervened.

The chief of staff for Representative Ayanna Pressley claimed that when the congresswoman and staff barricaded themselves in her office and attempted to call for help with duress buttons that they had previously used during safety drills, 'very panic button in my office had been torn out – the whole unit'. Subsequently, a House Administration Committee emailed Greg Sargent of The Washington Post claiming the missing buttons were likely due to a 'clerical screw-up' resulting from Pressley's swapping offices. Representative Jamaal Bowman tweeted that there were no duress buttons in his office, but acknowledged he was only three days into his term and they were installed a week later.

Multiple rioters, using the cameras on their cell phones, documented themselves occupying the Capitol and the offices of various representatives, vandalizing the offices of Speaker Pelosi, accessing secure computers, and stealing a laptop.

Participating groups

Among the many flags flown by participants were the Gadsden flag, American flag, and Women for Trump The attackers included some of Trump's longtime and most fervent supporters, coming from across the United States. The mob included Republican Party officials, current and former State Legislators and political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, conservative evangelical Christians and participants of the 'Save America' Rally. Some came heavily armed and some were convicted criminals, including a man who had been released from a Florida prison after serving a sentence for attempted murder. Although the anti-government Boogaloo movement mostly were opposing Donald Trump, a Boogaloo follower said several groups under his command helped storm the Capitol, taking the opportunity to strike against the federal government. Supporters of the Three Percenters, the Black Hebrew Israelites, the America First Movement, the Stop the Steal movement, the Patriot Movement, Blue Lives Matter, the Proud Boys, Tea Party movement, the Oath Keepers, Traditionalist Worker Party, QAnon, the Groyper Army, and national-anarchism, as well as neo-Confederates, Christian Nationalists and Holocaust deniers, among other far-right organizations and groups, were present during the riot, with some wearing emblematic gear. Neo-Nazi and Völkisch-inspired neopagan apparel was also worn by some participants during the riots, including a shirt emblazoned with references to the Auschwitz–Birkenau concentration camp and its motto, Arbeit macht frei.

Christian imagery, including a large 'Jesus saves' banner, was seen in the crowd of demonstrators. Before the demonstrators entered the building, activist Jake Angeli called out for them to pause and join him in prayer, saying, 'Thank you for allowing the United States to be reborn. We love you and we thank you. In Christ's holy name, we pray. During the prayer, many of those present removed their hats and shouted 'amen' when he finished.

Witnesses also reported seeing the national flags of India, Israel, Vietnam, Georgia, South Korea, Canada, the United States, Australia and Iran, as well as the flag of the fictional country of 'Kekistan', modified Gay Pride flags, and others.

After the storming of the Capitol, two white nationalists known for racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric streamed to their online followers a video posted on social media showing a man harassing an Israeli journalist seeking to conduct a live report outside the building. Some participants wore shirts bearing the abbreviation 6MWE, standing for '6 Million Wasn't Enough', a reference to the number of Jewish people who were killed in the Holocaust. According to the FBI, the majority of participants in the riot who appeared on its terrorist watchlist 'are suspected white supremacists'. Following the event, members of the Nationalist Social Club, a neo-Nazi street gang, detailed their participation in the storming and claimed the acts were the 'beginning of the start of White Revolution in the United States'.

A row of flags lining the Capitol grounds An academic analysis reported in The Atlantic found that of the 193 people so far arrested for invading the Capitol, 89 percent had no clear public connection to established far-right militias, known white-nationalist gangs, or any other known militant organizations. 'The overwhelming reason for action, cited again and again in court documents, was that arrestees were following Trump's orders to keep Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the presidential-election winner.' They were older than participants in previous far-right violent demonstrations and more likely to be employed, with 40% being business owners. The researchers concluded that these 'middle-aged, middle-class insurrectionists' represented 'a new force in American politics – not merely a mix of right-wing organizations, but a broader mass political movement that has violence at its core and draws strength even from places where Trump supporters are in the minorit'y.

The Associated Press reviewed public and online records of more than 120 participants after the storming and found that many of them shared conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election on social media and had also believed other QAnon and 'deep state' conspiracy theories. Additionally, several had threatened Democratic and Republican politicians before the storming. The event was described as 'Extremely Online', with 'pro-Trump internet personalities' and fans streaming live footage while taking selfies.

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