Some extremist groups are warning their members to stay clear of the “Justice for J6” rally Saturday in Washington, where U.S. Capitol insurrectionists will be hailed as “political prisoners.”
They’re claiming the rally is a trap to lure and arrest them.
There doesn’t appear to be any basis for the warnings. The rally has been organized by Matt Braynard, the one-time data and strategy director of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and his organization Look Ahead America. The group is arranging similar rallies across the nation.
Posts by far-right groups on Facebook and 4chan are calling the event a “false flag” or “honeypot,” where they may be goaded into violence by federal agents looking to arrest them and gather intelligence, reported NBC News and other media.
Across right-wing social media platforms, “most people who are talking about the event in any capacity are telling people to steer clear,” Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told The Guardian. “Any extremist group that’s talking about it is warning people against attending.”
The common line is that it’s “a trap that’s been set by federal authorities” that will expose participants to “surveillance and arrest,” she added.
Braynard has called the warning itself a false flag, planted by those who want to trick Trump supporters into believing that “nonaction or violent action” is the only choice.
“There are voices on the left and the right trying to discourage patriotic Americans from believing that the election system cannot be fixed, that voting doesn’t matter and that public demonstrations like ours are ‘false flag attacks’ and are futile,” he said.
Braynard has insisted that the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was “largely peaceful” — and some violence was simply “egged on in many cases by the Capitol Police.”
Trump claimed, without evidence, that the rioters were victims of a “two-tiered system of justice,” presumably indicating that they were being treated worse than other Americans caught in similar situations.
Braynard told HuffPost that the rally is only in support of “nonviolent” Capitol protesters. He said that includes Ashli Babbitt, who tried to crawl through a broken window in a barricaded door to get to members of Congress. As a mob of rioters yelled “Let’s go” and “Fuck the blue,” a Capitol Police officer warned Babbitt to stop before he fatally shot her. (The incident can be seen in a disturbing video here.)
Braynard claimed that Babbitt had been “executed.” The officer who shot her has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.