About 200 people gathered peacefully near the Capitol under the watchful eye of a massive security presence.
People walk by as others attend a rally near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. | Brynn Anderson/AP Photo
A highly anticipated rally on behalf of the more than 600 people charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot drew a modest crowd of a couple hundred demonstrators Saturday, with media and security personnel far outnumbering those seeking to air grievances on behalf of defendants they call “political prisoners.”
The small crowd that gathered just steps from where the worst violence unfolded earlier this year was met by a massive law enforcement presence clad in riot gear. Horse and bicycle-mounted police officers circled the gathering, and a Metropolitan Police Department helicopter flew overhead. Both Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger and MPD Chief Robert Contee III attended the event, standing alongside their officers.
The rally, organized by a former campaign aide to former President Donald Trump, began just after noon and lasted only about an hour. It featured a handful of speakers who addressed the group from a small stage.