The organizers of the “Justice for J6” rally scheduled for Saturday at the United States Capitol say they are highlighting the “immoral” treatment of those charged in connection with the January 6 riot.
The rally is expected to bring around 600 people to Capitol Hill amid new allegations that accused rioters face harsh treatment in prisons and denied due process in the legal system.
“Our motivation is to raise the profile of our fellow Americans who see their civil rights violated, are denied their constitutional rights and are treated as political prisoners,” said Matt Braynard, the main organizer of the rally.
Mr Braynard, who is also a former Trump campaigner and executive director of the nonprofit Look Ahead America, echoes the concerns of a handful of House lawmakers who alleged the jailed rioters were treated unfairly because of their support for former President Donald. Asset.
A Rasmussen Reports poll found that nearly half of American voters agree with this view, with 49% of likely voters agreeing that protesters arrested in connection with Jan. 6 are “political prisoners.”
Among those polled, 30% strongly agree with the idea, while 42% disagree and 33% strongly disagree, according to the poll released on Tuesday.
The survey had a margin of error of +/- 3%.
Washington officials are treating the rally as a threat.
A fence around the United States Capitol is expected to be erected before the rally, an item erected after the January 6 riots and dismantled in July.
Police at the United States Capitol Building said they had asked the Department of Defense for the possibility of receiving National Guard support if needed on Saturday.
District police are preparing to have an “increased presence” in the city and say they will “be fully prepared” for the rally.
Many Republicans have distanced themselves from the upcoming rally, including lawmakers who have stood up for jailed rioters.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, said he did not expect any of his members to attend the rally.
Mr Braynard said the lack of support leaves elected leaders disconnected from the political reality of the country.
“Half of America is on our side of the problem,” Mr. Braynard said. “I have also seen internal polls which show that among GOP voters they are completely in line with the Justice for J6 movement.”
A couple of Republican candidates looking for a position are considering joining the rally.
Mike Collins, candidate for Georgia’s 10th District, is scheduled to speak at the rally. He said he wanted to defend the constitutional rights of people he believes are being violated.
“People need their day in court,” Collins said. “Whatever they’ve done or been accused of doing, I’m not one of them. But I say they need their constitutional rights to be respected.
The January 6 riot resulted in the deaths of four pro-Trump protesters. A Capitol Police officer also died of a stroke, which a forensic scientist later ruled to be a natural cause death.
Two other Capitol Hill police officers died by suicide in the days following the riot.
More than 500 people have been arrested and charged in connection with the storming of the Capitol, many of whom have been released pending trial.
Some of those behind bars have claimed to have been subjected to excessively harsh treatment, including abuse and unwarranted solitary confinement.
Albert Watkins is a St. Louis-based attorney representing four riot defendants, including “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley. He said the Justice Department rushed into prosecution before a full investigation was completed. He also accused the government of sorting out the evidence.
The lawyer also said Mr Chansley’s mental health vulnerabilities had not been fully considered, adding that his client currently spends up to 23 hours a day in solitary confinement.
He said his client’s treatment came close to that of a political prisoner, but he imputed that Mr Chansley became the face of the January 6 riot with his red, white and blue face paint and a hat fur.
“I don’t blame his political beliefs. I blame the fact that he, for better or for worse, won the best costume contest of the day for Jan. 6, ”Mr. Watkins said.
Mr Chansley, 33, pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of obstructing due process for his role in the riot.
Regarding the rally, Mr Watkins said it is justified as long as it is peaceful and not a repeat of what happened nine months ago.
“I think it is noble if it is done in a peaceful manner and constitutes the constitutionally protected right to free speech,” Watkins said. “If it’s about creating an epilogue until January 6, that’s not fair.”
Other defense attorneys familiar with the rioters’ cases have privately said the rally was a bad idea and would not help the cause of those still behind bars.
The rally is scheduled to begin at noon on Saturday on the west side of the Capitol grounds. 17 more sister gatherings are scheduled to take place outside state legislatures across the country on Saturday.