Dozens of people gathered on the steps of Florida’s old Capitol building Saturday afternoon to call for the release of people arrested for the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Florida has the distinction of being the state with the most individuals charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Those milling about Florida’s Capitol grounds Saturday included members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, two far-right groups labeled by the FBI as extremists.
Attendees chanted “let them go” and held signs calling for the release of “political prisoners.”
The ‘Free Our Patriots Rally in Tally‘ was announced in a tweet by Luis Miguel, a far-right Republican who is looking to primary Sen. Marco Rubio. Miguel tweeted the purpose of the rally was to call on elected officials “to fight for the release of these American patriots.”
At the rally, the emcee accidentally closed out the speaking portion of the event before being reminded that Miguel had not yet spoken at the rally Miguel organized.
“They’re not insurrectionists like they say. They’re not traitors. They’re not terrorists. I’ll tell you what they are; they are heroes. Every single one of them is a hero,” Miguel said, speaking about the people who have been arrested after the attack that resulted in five deaths.
Miguel referred to those attending Saturday’s rally and those who were at the Jan. 6 attack as “patriots.”
“Any single one of those men who are in a jail cell right now could have been us,” Miguel said.
The gift shop manager in Florida’s old Capitol building told a reporter she stopped in to check on her employee working the gift shop Saturday because she was worried about her. The gift shop manager said Capitol police had also been by to check on the gift shop employee.
Tampa Republican Christine Quinn attended the rally. Quinn has run for Congress twice but never won.
More than 535 people have been arrested for the Jan. 6 attack, which amounted to an unsuccessful attempt to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden‘s November election victory over then-President Donald Trump.
Sixty-two of the people arrested in the aftermath of the attack are from Florida.
Charges against Floridians for the Jan. 6 riot include assaulting an officer using a dangerous weapon, conspiracy, aiding and abetting the theft of government property, civil disorder, violent entry, obstruction of an official proceeding, and entering and remaining in a restricted building, among other charges.
This article first appeared at Florida Politics.
Support local journalism in these crazy days. Our small but mighty team works tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Tampa and surrounding areas. Please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps.