- Jan 6, 2022 marked one year since rioters stormed the Capitol.
It was hard to know what to expect for the first anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. Candlelight vigils had been planned at a DC jail, and at others across the country, to call for the release of those detained and charged in the riot's aftermath. A counter-demonstration was planned on the steps of the Capitol.
A year ago, I had come to town as a photojournalist prepared to document the "Stop the Steal" rally, and then photographed it as it descended into violence and chaos as throngs of people forced their way into the Capitol. (You can read more about that here.) I watched as the crowd overwhelmed the police with bear mace, metal pipes, and other weapons, forcing their way through windows and past police lines.
Afterwards, starting with Joe Biden's subdued Inauguration scarcely two weeks later, and again at the sparsely attended "Justice for J6" rally in September, I returned to find Washington seemingly back to its pre-Trump era sense of normalcy.
So, this Jan. 6 filled me with both mild cynicism – boredom, even – and a gnawing trepidation nonetheless.
Arriving at the Capitol, I was relieved to see that the fence line had been pulled back to the very steps, opening most of the grounds to the public. It was colder than it had been last year, and the ground was either covered with snow or mud where the snow had melted. I wonder if the powers-that-be had decided to keep defenses discrete and relatively light, as if to double down on that reassertion of quotidian life. The few visible police officers rode about on mountain bikes across an almost completely deserted area.
A smattering of earnest protesters – some saying they had come to defend democracy; others defending the former president and those who forced their way into the Capitol in his name – once again dominated the visual landscape:
The view from Florida
By Andrew Lichtenstein
About 1000 miles south of DC, a very different scene was underway in Clearwater, Florida.
Here, approximately 130 Trump supporters gathered along the side of the Pinellas County Jail to demand the release of all "political prisoners" being held on charges of storming the US Capital one year ago.
Specifically, the crowd demanded the release of Jeremy Brown, a local special forces veteran who claims the FBI solicited him to spy on the Oath Keepers, and who is being held at the jail. Brown called in from the maximum security wing of the jail and spoke to the crowd for about twenty minutes, in which he announced that he will be running for a Republican seat in the Florida state legislature
A candlelight vigil in Washington DC
By Eman Mohamad
As night fell in Washington, a small crowd of people – and a large crowd of journalists – gathered outside the Central Detention Facility on D Street to support incarcerated detainees from the Capitol Insurrection. The protesters held candles while singing "patriot songs" and chanting slogans demanding the release of the arrested.