//Night descends on Jan. 6, 2021 during the insurrection in Washington D.C. Pushed out from the Capitol, disorganized Trump supporters begin milling around the base of the building. Not long after, Police begin using kettling tactics to further remove the crowd back from the Capitol. Photo by Esteban Fernandez | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Mayhem reporters were on the ground in both Washington, D.C. and Denver as insurrectionists seized the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. The group of pro-Trump extremists caused lockdowns in both cities and delayed the certification of the election by U.S. Congressional members. Several lawmakers, including President Donald Trump and Republican Congress members, have repeated false claims of election fraud since November 2020, stirring conspiracy theories that ultimately led to the actions on Wednesday.
President Trump called on Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results by rejecting certain electoral votes, a request Pence ultimately ignored. After returning to the Congressional chambers following the attempted insurrection, U.S. lawmakers certified President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory early morning Jan. 7. There were 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the election results despite their rhetoric contributing to insurrectionist behavior.
Shortly after the certification, President Trump—who had told his supporters he would “never concede”—said in a statement “there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.”
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated Jan. 20 at noon.
//Police slowly start removing pro-Trump extremists from the top of the Capitol by force Jan. 6, 2021. For many, it’s the first time they’ve endured police crowd control munitions such as tear gas or pepper balls. Photo by Esteban Fernandez | email@example.com
Pro-Trump insurrectionists storm the Capitol building in D.C. causing lockdowns and delay of election certification
by Esteban Fernandez | Jan 7, 2021
A loaded pistol magazine tumbled out of a pocket and onto the floor. Progressive chants distorted through a hyper-nationalist prism. The peoples’ house desecrated by insurrectionists determined to make no will but their own reality.
“They broke through the window, they fought the police officers and they entered through the capitol and started looking for evidence of anything connected to the election,” said one freelance videographer who declined to give his name out of fears for his personal safety.
One of the darkest days in current American history was followed by a complete abdication of responsibility by the perpetrators of the assault on the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021. Immediately, conspiracy theories took root among those unwilling to believe what was within plain sight.
At Baltimore Washington International Airport’s departure terminal the day following Jan. 6, Trump supporters traded theories as to who could be responsible for the violence that took place at the Capitol. Shadowy forces were blamed for “getting” to Pence, who refused to overturn the election by rejecting electoral votes President Trump didn’t like. Despite those that vandalized the Capitol later being revealed to have shown President Trump clear loyalty on social media, many Trump supporters still believed it was somehow antifa’s fault.
Victoria Crawford, who traveled from Seattle, characterized the day as a peaceful protest. No violence from Trump supporters. However, after being confronted with evidence of violence in the Capitol she had more to say.
“Yeah, maybe I was too far back to see that. So I’m not going to dispute, obviously. If you were [there], I’m not going to dispute it,” Crawford said. “But the sad thing is I’ve gotten the memo months ago, like even before the election, that antifa was going to come to things and put on a MAGA hat. They’re going to look like they’re going to blend in with the crowd to make us look bad. And I think that yesterday was an example of that.”
It is hard to square those comments against selfies, live streaming and posts by pro-Trump extremists and known members of the alt-right who self-identified and bragged about their vandalism on social media. Several of those posts have already led to arrests as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies seek to hold those responsible for the violence accountable. No one affiliated with antifa has been arrested.
A surreal lack of law enforcement anywhere but at the top of the Capitol steps characterized a day of abject humiliation for the Capitol Police and the United States as a whole. For several hours, throngs of Trump supporters swarmed the capitol like ants feasting on a carcass. Pro-Trump extremists invaded the interior, smashing windows, destroying furniture and leaving human excrement were elected officials make laws. As police attempted to reassert control with pepper balls and tear gas, several extremists shouted things like, “you’re attacking the wrong people,” and “we’re on your side!” Slogans and chants typically associated with Black Lives Matter such as “I can’t breath” were appropriated by people intent on doing harm to lawmakers and violently suppressing the peaceful transfer of power.
The press was also a target of pro-Trump extremists. Madeleine Kelly, a freelance photojournalist who works with Ms. Mayhem, suspected that a Trump extremist tried stabbing her while she took photographs. When she checked her protective vest later, she found a gash about an inch wide that went through two layers of fabric before bouncing off a protective plate. A different extremist tried to rip Kelly’s press badge off. She showed off the broken lanyard later. Ben Kile, another freelance photojournalist and videographer, says he was confronted by individuals who said that Kile wasn’t part of the “evil Jew media” after Kile revealed he was an independent photographer.
“There were many, many ex-military veterans in that group who utilized government military training that they were given to protect this country, who took an oath to stand up for the Constitution,” said Clara Sachs, a 40-year resident of Washington D.C. “They broke that oath by breaching the security of the Capitol building. They are traitors. And so was President Trump.”
Taking no chances the day following the attempted coup, National Guard members were deployed in front of the Capitol. Law enforcement spent the morning and afternoon on Jan. 7 erecting a fence around the building. While city workers put up the barriers, pickup trucks and sedans flying Trump and militia flags made victory laps around the Capitol. As two national guardsmen spoke to each other at 1st Street and Independence Avenue, some extremists in a silver sedan pulled up and told them to “remember your vows,” before thanking them for their service.
At this point, even if President Trump repudiated every lie and falsehood he’s spread in his quest to overturn the election, it’s unclear if it would be enough to invalidate the cosmology his followers have established over the previous four years.
“Every generation needs its own revolution,” one Trump supporter was overheard saying to another at an airport gate to Minneapolis in Baltimore. The goalposts are no longer under President Trump’s control.
Kirk Reynolds, who traveled from Destin, Florida, was firm that come Jan. 20 there would be four more years of Trump, despite declining to predict what was going to happen on Inauguration Day.
“All I can do is tell you what I know from what I feel in my faith, in my heart. So, that’s what I speak from as far as four more years, that’s faith. That’s not knowledge. God only knows the truth,” he said.
As police finally unleashed stun grenades and other crowd-control munitions on the rioters, one man lifted himself up on a stone wall. His main complaint was that instead of siding with them, the police fired on the people trying to overthrow the government. He declared to all present he was leaving to get his rifle and called on his fellow insurrectionist to do the same.
Come Jan. 20, that ironclad belief may end with many other faithful heeding his call for a violent uprising on Inauguration Day.
//Protesters yell at Colorado State Troopers during the “We Are The Storm!” rally Jan. 6. The event was attended by Republicans, extremists, hate groups and Q Anon believers. Photo by Kieran Purce | firstname.lastname@example.org
Colorado Pro-Trump Republicans rally at State Capitol in support of insurrectionists and delaying election certification
by Kieran Purce | Jan 8, 2021
Hundreds of Coloradans gathered outside the capitol building Wednesday afternoon to object to the results of the 2020 presidential election.
In a flier advertised on social media entitled “We Are The Storm!”, a message from President Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn called for people unable to travel to Washington D.C. to protest the “fraudulent election” in their home state.
Dozens of Capitol buildings across the country saw pro-Trump extremists gather at their steps, including the Colorado State Capitol.
As rioters stormed the Capitol in D.C., Denver’s event remained outside the building where a combination of Colorado Republican speakers and extremist hate groups convened on the capitol grounds.
Organized in part by Jim Saunders of the Colorado Election Integrity Project, the four-hour event hosted a range of elected officials as speakers, including Colorado State Rep. Richard Holtorf, gubernatorial candidate Greg Lopez, former congressional candidate Casper Stockham and former Benty County Sheriff Brian Spencer.
A loudspeaker played Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert’s voice who addressed the crowd from the nation’s capital. “The members who stand here today and accept the results of this concentrated, coordinated, partisan effort by Democrats—where every fraudulent vote canceled out the vote of an honest American—have sided with the extremist left!” she said.
Speakers claimed the election results were invalid by utilizing a range of conspiracy theories to support their claims. Theories included blaming the Chinese Communist Party, the Democratic Party and the Denver-based Dominion voting machines.
“The Black Lives Matter movement needs to be declared a terrorist organization by the FBI,” said one speaker.
Various right-wing groups such as the Proud Boys, who the Southern Poverty Law Group considers an extremist hate group, showed up in support. They were joined by Three Percenters, who the Anti-Defamation League describes as an extremist anti-government militia movement. Also present was the United American Defense Force, a private for-profit militia led by Colorado Springs and Trump campaign surrogate John Tiegen. Men in military garb armed with riot shields and bear mace stood on the perimeter of the event.
The scene was mostly celebratory as Trump loyalists waved dozens of flags. Music playing from a caravan of honking cars encircled the capitol building, with homemade signs attached to their vehicles that said “TRUMP FOREVER” and “China loves Democrats.”
As the afternoon progressed, a small group of counter-protesters gathered across the street on the sidewalk opposite of the Capitol building chanting and holding signs supporting democracy.
A skirmish broke out between the groups as one man wearing a Trump flag as a cape confronted three young women. Pushing and shoving ensued and one man claimed to be punched in the back of the head by a Trump supporter. Colorado State Patrol intervened to separate the two groups. No arrests were made as multiple people pleaded with the state patrol, saying that Trump supporters instigated the confrontation by crossing the street and pulling a man’s sign out of his hands and punching him in the back of the head as the groups clashed.
Pro-Trump extremists retreated across the street as police stood between the two groups, which seemed to energize the fascistic side into boisterous chants of “Fuck Antifa” and “All Lives Matter.”
After the event ended, small groups of counter-protesters and Trump supporters continued yelling at one another across Lincoln Avenue.
A lone counter-protester attempted to spray paint the sidewalk in front of the Capitol and was pushed into the street where he collided with a moving vehicle bearing a Trump flag.
Colorado State Patrol quickly descended and arrested the man. The two groups returned to yelling at one another across the street well into the afternoon.
Another man was arrested shortly after for obstructing traffic. As reported by the Denver Post, a third person was arrested for brandishing a taser.
As the yelling settled into talking and the opposing groups slowly intermingled, many Trump supporters left and counter-protesters crossed the street to the Capitol grounds.
A tardy Trump supporter showed up as the evening wound down. He made a boast to those remaining.
“My brother’s in D.C.! He got tear-gassed in the Capitol,” he said.
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