- A pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, bringing extremist iconography and some regalia associated with far-right or white-supremacist groups.
- Some rioters wore clothing associated with the conspiracy-theory group QAnon, Confederate flags waved, and a contingent of Proud Boys made an appearance.
- Here are the most recognisable symbols and groups photographed at Wednesday’s insurrection.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Thousands of pro-Trump rioters descended on the US Capitol building on Wednesday during Congress’ attempt to certify Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 Presidential Election. Hundreds of those armed insurrectionists broke into the building, forcing members of Congress to huddle in safe locations until police and members of the National Guard secured the premises.
In addition to pro-Trump regalia, groups in and around the Capitol building sported clothing, accessories, and symbols associated with far-right, racist, and extremist groups. Several of the people identifying themselves with these symbols and ideologies participated in storming the Capitol, though not all of them were documented inside the building.
Below are images and descriptions of some of the most recognisable groups and symbols present at the Capitol on Wednesday.
The Kek flag
The flag, which mimics a Nazi war flag, is the purported banner for a fictional country known as “Kekistan,” which was created by white nationalist users of 4chan, a messaging board home to racist and hateful groups. The “nation” is ruled by a frog-headed deity called Kek, normally represented by Pepe the Frog.
The Three Percenters
The Three Percenters derive their name from a disputed historical claim that only 3% of Americans fought the British in the Revolutionary War. The extremist group exists within the US’s so-called militia movement and is traditionally viewed as an anti-government group. Many members are strong supporters of President Trump.
One figure stood out among the mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday: the “Q Shaman,” Jake Angeli. Known for wearing red, white, and blue face paint and a horned helmet, Angeli has become a notable figure in the QAnon conspiracy theory movement. He has popped up at far-right rallies in Arizona in the last year, as The Arizona Republic reported.
QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory group, baselessly alleges that Trump is fighting a “deep-state cabal” of pedophiles and human traffickers. The group played a large role in organising nationwide “Stop the Steal” protests in the months since President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
Though Viking and Norse symbology does not necessarily have racist origins, it has been appropriated by white-supremacist and neo-Nazi movements. A shirtless Angeli prominently displayed his tattoos of such symbols, including a valknot (interlocking triangles) on his upper left chest and what appears to be Thor’s hammer on his stomach.
‘Stop the Steal’
The “Stop the Steal” movement began on Election Day, when Trump supporters protested with the demand that state election officials to stop counting ballots in an effort to maintain Trump’s early-in-the-race lead. Since then, the movement has evolved into a conspiracy theory claiming without evidence that electoral fraud swayed the 2020 election in President-elect Joe Biden’s favour.
An ITV News report from inside the Capitol captured footage of a man wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt. Underneath the skull and crossbones, the sweatshirt appears to read “work brings freedom” – a translation of the Nazi slogan “arbeit macht frei,” which appeared on the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
A white nationalist known for neo-Nazi views – Tim Gionet, better known as Baked Alaska – was also among the group that stormed the Capitol.
Nooses and ‘Day of the rope’
Additionally, Twitter users and members of militant chat rooms made numerous references to “Day of the Rope,” a white supremacist concept taken from The Turner Diaries, a novel by the former leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. The concept refers to a day when white supremacists lynch masses of “race traitors,” including journalists and politicians.
The Confederate flag
The flag of the Confederate States of America, which seceded from the United States and fought the Civil War in an effort to continue the institution of slavery, is often used as a hate symbol and emblem of white supremacy. Rioters brought that flag into the US Capitol on Wednesday.
The Proud Boys, founded by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, rose to national prominence after Trump and Biden name-checked them at the first presidential debate. Members of the far-right group describe themselves as “western chauvinists,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Centre. The group has violently clashed with the anti-fascist movement.
The Proud Boys’ chairman, Enrique Tarrio, announced on Parler earlier this week that the group would be attending Wednesday’s rally “incognito,” dressed in all black instead of their usual black-and-yellow uniform with MAGA hats. Tarrio was arrested earlier this week ahead of the rally.
Black Hebrew Israelites
The Black Hebrew Israelites is a movement of people who believe that Black descendants of slaves are the true Hebrews, or God’s chosen people. The Southern Poverty Law Centre has labelled the movement a hate group, as they view Jewish people as “impostors.”
Daily Beast reporter Will Sommer tweeted a photo of what he described as a group of people dressed in clothing denoting the group outside the Capitol.
National Anarchist Movement (N-AM)
Unlike traditional anarchism, which is anti-racist, the National Anarchist Movement is a far-right, antisemitic group advocating for racial separatism. The organisation’s website states that “an elite coterie of Jews and their allies have effectively manipulated world events for their own interests.”
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