US Capitol hill! Who were the protesters that broke into buildings on US Capitol hill after attending a rally in support of Donald Trump?
Some were carrying flags and symbols strongly associated with particular ideas and factions, but in practice, many of the members and their causes overlap.
1. QAnon among the protesters in US Capitol hill.
Images show individuals associated with a range of extreme and far-right groups and supporters of unconventional online conspiracy theories, many of whom have long been active online and at Pro-Trump rallies.
One of the most startling images, quickly shared across social media, shows a man dressed with a painted face, fur hat and horns, holding an American flag.
He’s been identified as Jake Angeli who is a well-known supporter of the baseless conspiracy theory QAnon. He calls himself the QAnon Shaman.
His social media presence shows him attending multiple QAnon events and posting YouTube videos about deep-state conspiracies.
He was pictured in November making a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, about unproven claims the election was fraudulent.
His personal Facebook page is filled with images and memes relating to all sorts of extreme ideas and conspiracy theories.
2. The Proud Boys in US Capitol hill.
Another group spotted at the forceful attack of the US. Capitol hill were members of the far-right group tagged Proud Boys.
This organisation was founded in 2016 and is Anti-immigrant and all male. In the first US presidential debate, President Trump in response to a question about White supremacists and Militias said: “Proud Boys – stand back and stand by.”
Nick Ochs, the proud-boy member on the Left Hand Side tweeted a selfie inside the building saying
“Hello from the Capital lol”.
He also filmed a Live Stream inside.
However, in the image above, the individual standing on the left is still unknown.
Nick Ochs’ profile on Telegram describes him as a “Proud Boy Elder from Hawaii.”
3. Online influencers in US Capitol hill.
Individuals with large followings online were also spotted at the protests.
Among them was the social media personality, Tim Gionet, who goes under the pseudonym “Baked Alaska”.
His livestream from inside the Capitol posted on a niche streaming service was watched by thousands of people and showed him talking to other protesters.
A Trump supporter, Mr. Tim Gionet has made a name for himself as an internet troll.
He’s been described by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, a US non-profit legal advocacy group, as a “white nationalist”.
Who wrote Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Reps. a note?
Richard Barnett from Arkansas is the name of the man on this photo that went viral. This man entered the Office of Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representative.
Outside US Capitol Hill buildings, he told the New York Times that he took an envelope from the Speaker’s office and says he left a note calling her an expletive.
Local media reports say Mr. Richard Barnett is involved in a group that supports gun rights, and that he was interviewed at a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally following the presidential election – a movement that refused to accept Joe Biden’s victory and supports the President’s unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud.
In the interview at the rally organized by ‘Engaged Patriots’ he said:
“If you don’t like it, send somebody out to get me ’cause I ain’t going down easy.”
The group associated with Mr. Richard Barnett held a fundraiser in October with proceeds going towards body cameras for the local police department, according to the Westside Eagle Observer local paper.
No evidence of Antifa supporters as claimed.
As the events were unfolding, many social media users, especially those associated with QAnon and supporters of President Trump, were claiming that agitators from the loose-knit left-wing group – Antifa were involved.
The implication was that these activists were disguised as Trump supporters to create disruption.
A number of prominent Republican politicians, such as US Representative Matt Gaetz, claimed it was Antifa masquerading as Trump supporters.
Flags and symbols.
At least one of the rioters was holding a Confederate flag, which represented US states that supported the continuation of slavery during the American civil war. For this reason, it is considered by many to be a symbol of racism and there have been calls to ban it across the US. Others see it as an important part of southern US history.
In July, it was announced that the flag could no longer be flown on American military properties because of a new policy to reject “divisive symbols”.
However, President Trump has defended the use of the Confederate flag in the past, saying:
“I know people that like the Confederate flag and they’re not thinking about slavery…I just think it’s freedom of speech.”
There were also protesters holding aloft flags featuring a coiled rattlesnake on a yellow background, often accompanied by the phrase “don’t tread on me”. This is known as the Gadsden flag, harking back to the American revolution and the war to expel British colonialists.
The flag above is also used by Anti-government, White supremacist groups who embrace violence.