On Jan. 6, 2021, a right-wing mob stormed the U.S. Capitol at the urging of President Donald J. Trump in an attempt to prevent the certification of presidential election results. But the attack didn’t come from nowhere. It was the culmination of a year of increasingly radical activity by a slew of extremists around the country. They mobilized against racial justice protests, COVID-19 prevention measures, and voting rights for all Americans, and were goaded on by the president and politicians on the right.
The Road to Jan. 6: A Year of Extremist Mobilization
May 25 | Minneapolis George Floyd is murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, and protests erupt across the country, eventually reaching more than 140 cities and towns. The National Guard is activated in 21 states. Antigovernment extremist boogaloo boys, who promote violence in order to hasten a civil war, take advantage of the protests to commit acts of violence against law enforcement. The Proud Boys also counterprotest around the country, using the demonstrations as an excuse to fight with marchers.
- About 94% of all pro-BLM demonstrations are peaceful, with 6% involving reports of violence, clashes with police, vandalism, looting or other destructive activity. Demonstrations involving right-wing militias or militant social movements have turned violent or destructive more than twice as often, nearly 14% of the time.
Nov. 3 | Election Day Election Day features many antigovernment candidates, political violence and intimidation.
Dec. 12 | Washington, D.C. “Stop the Steal” protests in Washington, D.C., lead to nine injuries and 33 arrests. During the protests, Proud Boys destroy two Black Lives Matter banners stolen from historic Black churches. Enrique Tarrio, the group’s chairman, was later sentenced to five months in jail after he admitted to burning one of the banners. He also pleaded guilty to attempted possession of a high-capacity magazine.
Jan. 6 | Washington, D.C. A mob supporting Trump’s false claims of electoral victory enters the U.S. Capitol seeking to overturn the election and interrupt the electoral vote count. Among those arrested are members of the Proud Boys, the Three Percenter movement and the Oath Keepers.
- Attacks by antigovernment militia groups also took place at state Capitol buildings in: Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
- Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff are evacuated from the State Capitol in Atlanta as protesters with assault rifles enter and try to track him down.
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