While the US media does not make a distinction between peaceful protesters who took part in the 6 January Trump rally in DC and the group of 200 or so rioters who broke into the Capitol building, it would be wrong to treat them all the same way, eyewitnesses insist.
Over 170 criminal cases have been opened so far in the wake of the Capitol Hill protests which left five people dead, according to Michael Sherwin, acting US attorney for the District of Columbia. In addition to that, the FBI is investigating the planting of pipe bombs outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee, as NBC News reported on 13 January.
On 6 January, a group of demonstrators broke into the Capitol building amid the joint congressional session to count electoral votes. The incident occurred hours after a rally held by President Donald Trump outside the White House.
Rioters Constituted a ‘Tiny Number’ Compared to the Crowd
The crowd that gathered on 6 January in Washington DC did not seem to be determined to engage in any sort of rioting, according to Mark Finchem, Arizona State Representative, who chaired the Arizona Hearing on Election Fraud and attended Trump’s rally on that day.
For his part, Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel observes that those breached into the building “was a tiny number compared to the massive total crowd”.
Together with Crowdsource the Truth founder Jason Goodman, Ortel filmed the gathering and the incident from a spot outside of the restricted area.
“I am unclear what time the building was breached exactly,” the analyst recalls. “We arrived at the Capitol grounds about 15 to 30 minutes after President Trump finished his speech to find no barriers and no police guarding the back entrance.”
Ortel notes that by the time they arrived, hundreds of people, perhaps thousands, already were inside the grounds, but only a few had begun to climb up the scaffolding and grandstands, or reached the Capitol building itself. Thousands more people streamed in continuously from the moment Ortel and Goodman arrived and afterwards.
Pro-Trump protesters storm into the US Capitol during clashes with police, during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 US presidential election results by the US Congress, in Washington, US, January 6, 2021
Those Who Broke Into Capitol Building are Not Necessarily ‘Trump Supporters’
The group that took part in the Capitol breach appear to be comprised of people from all different walks of life.
There was Nick Ochs, a man who described himself as a “Proud Boy Elder from Hawaii”. Another participant of the breach, Jake Angeli, dubbed “a Q-Anon Shaman” by the media, was earlier seen marching from the Maricopa County Courthouse to the Arizona State Capitol on Friday, 20 September 2019 during the state’s climate strike – part of the Global Youth Climate Strike inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. However, QAnon “believers” have often been portrayed by the media as “climate change denialists” who endorsed Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate agreement.
For his part, American journalist Andy Ngo detected John Earle Sullivan, a Black Lives Matter activist from Utah, among the DC protesters. According to Ngo, Sullivan was “arrested and charged in July 2020 over a BLM-antifa riot where drivers in Provo were threatened and one was shot”.
Aaron Mostofsky, a registered Democrat and son of a New York Supreme Court judge, was also seen at the scene, as well as a newly-elected West Virginia Republican delegate Derrick Evans.
Meanwhile, Citizen Lab researcher John Scott-Railton drew attention to a couple of individuals wearing tactical gear and believed to be carrying plastic “zip tie”, who were later identified as Larry Rendell Brock of Texas and Eric Gavelek Munchel of Tennessee.
Black Lives Matter/Antifa Riots Paved the Way FOr THE Capitol Breach
While the Capitol incident was described as an “insurrection” and an “attempted coup” by the mainstream media, summer Black Lives Matter riots which were portrayed as “largely peaceful protests” by the mainstream press, Finchem highlights.
He notes that what he saw playing out at the US Capitol “was not a storming of the building, but protesters walk up the steps of a public building, police officers allowing them to be there and basically have a photo-op moment”.
“I was on the Supreme Court side of the Capitol and about 500 yards away, I was not a participant, which has been widely misrepresented, but a witness far removed,” he says.
For his part, Charles Ortel drew attention to the videos of police allowing the protesters into the building and even holding doors for them, recorded by people on the ground and shared on Twitter.
The unlawful behaviour at the Capitol Hill was a direct consequence of the months-long Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots across the US, accompanied by outright attacks on law enforcement agents and police premises as well as the damaging of federal property and establishment of self-declared “autonomous zones” in Seattle, Portland, Washington DC, and New York City, notes Ortel.
These actions receive little if any reprimand from local Democratic authorities and senior Democrats apparently encouraging some individuals to further test the limits of the system, according to the analyst.