There were infamous white nationalists and well-known conspiracy theorists who were spreading grim views on the pedophile Satanists who ruled the country. Others were more anonymous, people who traveled from Indiana and South Carolina to respond to President Donald Trump’s call to show their support. One person, a member of Parliament from West Virginia, was elected in November.
All converged on Wednesday (6) on the grounds of the Capitol, the seat of the United States Congress in Washington, where hundreds of rioters threw themselves against the barriers, jumped from the windows and through the doors, then marched in the hallways with a cheerful smile. feeling of desecration, because, during a few hours of great tension, they believed to have displaced the elites they claimed to hate.
“We want to show these politicians that we are in charge, not them,” said a 40-year-old Indianapolis construction worker, who identified himself only as Aaron. He declined to give his last name, saying, “I’m not that stupid.” He added: “We have the strength.”
As the country goes through the shrapnel of what happened in Washington on Wednesday, what is at the center of the Capitol invasion is a mixed constellation of radical Trump supporters: a predominantly white group, many armed with batons, shields and chemical spray; some carried Confederate flags and wore QAnon-inspired fur costumes and horns; They were mostly men, but there were also women.
Those who burst onto Capitol Hill were just a fraction of the thousands of Trump supporters who traveled to Washington to protest the certification of Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in November. Their action took place with a confused and frenzied energy, fueled by the words spoken by Trump a few minutes before and the fervor of the crowd behind them.
The Washington Metropolitan Police Department said it made no further arrests Thursday related to the riot, in which a woman was shot and killed by Capitol Police and a Capitol policeman was injured who later died. Police officer Brian Sicknick died around 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Capitol Police said in a statement. He has served on the board since 2008.
Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday and “was injured while physically engaging the protesters,” the agency statement said. He later passed out on his way back to his division office and was taken to hospital. News channels reported his untimely death earlier today, while he was apparently receiving medical treatment.
Metropolitan police arrested 68 people on Wednesday, plus 14 collected by Capitol Police during the riot. Dozens more were still wanted by federal authorities.
His number included a 60-year-old gun activist from Arkansas, who was pictured sitting in Mayor Nancy Pelosi’s office; men in military uniform taking selfies at the Rotonde; and a woman on the House floor carrying a QAnon inspired sign about children.
Some of those who stood out from the crowd seemed astonished at what they were seeing. They commented on the opulence of the Capitol building and offices, a quality that seemed to confirm their suspicions of corruption in Washington.
“Yeah, look at all the fancy furniture they have,” said a man with a winter coat and a red hat, standing on the west side of the Capitol and looking through the glass at empty tables, screens of computer and ergonomic chairs. Several people banged on windows with their fists, including a man who shouted, “Pour the coffee!” A man hit his head, not seeing the outer layer of glass, it was so clean.
As people ran inside, there was a strange mixture of confusion and excitement, and the almost complete lack of police presence at first amplified the feeling of lawless land.
They watched a place of wealth and beauty, adorned with art and marble, a domain of the mighty, and for a short time on Wednesday afternoon the rebels were in command. They felt that, for once, they could not be ignored.
Aaron, the Indianapolis worker, and his two friends had heard people talk about going to Pelosi’s office. After entering, they decided to find Senator Chuck Schumer’s office. Both are Democrats. “We wanted to say a few things” to Schumer, he said. “He’s probably the most corrupt guy here. You don’t hear a lot about him. But it is slippery. You can see it.
But they couldn’t find Schumer’s office. He said they asked a Capitol policeman, who tried to lead them. But they didn’t seem to have come close to the office of the minority leader. They ended up smoking cigarettes inside the building – “We can smoke in our house,” Aaron said – and one of his friends, who wouldn’t give his name, joked. that he had gone to the bathroom and had not flushed the toilet.
A woman in a coat sat on a sofa in a small room with a blue carpet and saw a man tear up a scroll with Chinese letters hanging on the wall. “We don’t want Chinese shit,” the woman said.
Nearby, six men were seated at a large wooden desk. A white dome lamp was knocked over and smashed. Someone was smoking marijuana. “It’s the smoking room!” Said a boy.
In the crypt, people walked around taking pictures of the statues and themselves with their phones. A man was holding a selfie stick, like a tourist. A woman in baggy jeans and a blue jacket chanted slogans into a megaphone, while a man in a black t-shirt who read “Not today liberal” (not today, progressive) ran around the central columns in what looked like a frenzied victory lap.
As the authorities try to identify the participants, some will be easier than others.
The group included well-known figures on the conspiracy right-wing, such as Jack Angeli, who promoted QAnon’s false claims that Trump was elected to save the United States from deep state bureaucrats and Satan-worshiping Main Democrats. and abuse children.
He was pictured sitting in Congress with a Viking helmet and furs. Angeli, known as “Q Shaman,” has been a constant figure in pro-Trump protests in Arizona since the election, and there are indications that he and other right-wing activists were planning to provoke a confrontation with authorities. before Wednesday’s move. .
There were also leaders of the Proud Boys, a far-right group whose members adopted misogynistic and anti-immigrant views, such as Nick Ochs, a failed Hawaii MP candidate and member of a collective called “The Murder the media ”.
Chris Hood and members of his National Socialist Club, a neo-Nazi group, posted photos outside the Capitol on Telegram on Wednesday. And the Three Percenters, a right-wing armed group, were seen gathering at Freedom Plaza in Washington on Tuesday evening, most wearing Kevlar helmets and vests adorned with the group’s symbol, the Roman numeral III (3).
The group was drawn from a larger crowd, tens of thousands of Trump’s most loyal supporters, many of whom had driven all night or taken buses with friends and neighbors to see him speak and participate in a day that many hoped she would eventually bring some. responses to months of false claims that the election was stolen. Several respondents said they had never been to Washington before.
In interviews on Wednesday, protesters from the largest crowd expressed a feeling that something was going to happen – something bigger than them. Exactly what no one could say. Before the Capitol invasion, some sadly spoke of violence and the threat of civil war.
But when asked what it meant, they tended to shy away, simply saying that if called upon, they would serve alongside them in a conflict.
When those who invaded the Capitol later resurfaced, after the looting, many were received as heroes in return. “Yes, we have stopped voting!” A man in a navy blue jacket with a zipper shouted as he stepped out, hands up, through a large yellow wooden door, as people outside shouted and clapped. “Murder the Media” was scrawled in black ink on the other sheet of the door.
Many said they would not try to enter, but sympathized with those who did.
“I’m not going in there, but yeah, I agree,” said Lisa Todd, 56, a high school teacher from Raleigh, North Carolina. She was with three friends, all teachers.
Others expressed regret. Breaking into the Capitol “probably wasn’t the best thing to do,” said Eric Dark, 43, a truck driver from Braman, Oklahoma, who was the target of tear gas when he reached the up the stairs of the building and could not enter.
He was standing with Brian Hobbs, mayor of Newkirk, Oklahoma, near the top of the steps on the west side of the building around 4:30 p.m., when police in riot gear began to approach to evict the thousands of people who s ‘were gathered. It could have been a lot worse, he says. “We had enough people; we could have demolished this building brick by brick, ”he said.