Attack o the CapitolAn Eyewitness to the Capitol Siege

By Niall Fitzgerald and Nolan Cleary

Published 29 January 2021

Two journalists for the Long Island’s North Shore Leader were present on January 6th for the Electoral College reading to the Joint Session of the U.S. Congress, when they witnessed the Capitol Hill riotous protests. Several local North Shore residents also were present and have been interviewed. This is what the journalists report.

We were headed to the Ellipse by the White House, where President Trump and his team were addressing a crowd of over 60,000 when we encountered streams of thousands of people leaving the Ellipse and walking in loose formation towards the Capitol.

Most were easy-going folk.  American flags, light banter, patriotic cries, and laughs.  There was nothing at that point about storming the Capitol.

We talked with some of them: The people were a cross-section of Middle America.  Mostly white, but with many blacks and Hispanics.  Men and women in almost equal numbers. A mostly middle-aged and older crowd, but with people of all ages present.  A lot of military veterans.

Most were expressing outrage at what they believed was a stolen election and were determined to “stand up” for their Country to “do what is right. “People had come from all over, often flying or driving great distances- New York, Louisiana, Michigan, California –several places mentioned by people we spoke to.

It was a 20-minute walk to the Capitol.  We walked and spoke to one Western New Yorker who to avoid New York’s quarantine rules, drove to Philadelphia and then flew down to Washington.  He was a veteran, active duty in Iraq.  He seemed completely level-headed.  He said he was “thinking about” joining the “Proud Boys” and had come to Washington, because “the system is just not working.”

We parted upon approaching the Capitol.  Turns out we were near the front of the river of humanity flowing from the Ellipse to the barricades that ringed the Capitol.  Metal barricades were spread out across the space at ground level between the white awning-covered scaffolding that was built up on both sides of the Capitol steps for the Inauguration.

The Capitol police – at that point - were not manning these barricades but were situated further back and upon a central balcony, only five or six of them, behind plastic shields with one pointing a long rifle weapon at the crowd.  There were other police over both sides - but they were very few in numbers.

At first, the crowd was chanting loudly, but not crossing the barricades.  The policeman with the weapon kept pointing it at various places in the crowd-not at those standing by the barricades but behind them, deeper into the crowd.