Six prosecutions did not break the spirit of some participants.

On February 9, 2024, a group of protesters gathered in Quemado, Texas for the Take Our Border Back rally. This event, organized by anti-immigration hardliners, MAGA conservatives, and other fringe groups, aimed to protest the Biden administration’s immigration policies and demand action to secure the southern border. However, it also served as a platform for some of the defendants who were arrested and convicted for their involvement in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

According to attendees, the rally was a symbol of defiance and a rebirth for those who participated in the insurrection. Many of the Jan. 6 defendants saw the event as an opportunity to galvanize supporters and resume in-person protests and rallies. Despite initial fears and hesitation, the 1,300 prosecutions related to the Capitol attack have now become a powerful organizing tool for these individuals.

The government’s plan for deterrence through these prosecutions may have briefly worked, but it has ultimately backfired. The Jan. 6 insurrection, which was initially fueled by online agitators, turned into a violent mob that aimed to disrupt the congressional process of affirming the 2020 election results. The attack resulted in the deaths of four rioters and five police officers, and sparked one of the largest and most complex investigations in recent history.  

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