Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside of the Federal Building in downtown Raleigh today on the one-year anniversary of last January’s U.S. Capitol insurrection to demand action that would help prevent future such attacks on American democracy.
Citing the close connections between the forces that helped organize the insurrection and ongoing efforts to limit voting rights, assert partisan control over election oversight in several states, and gerrymander legislative and congressional districts, demonstrators and speakers called for the passage of legislation that would help secure broad participation in free and fair elections, including the Freedom to Vote Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and DC Statehood
The event was organized by the groups Tuesdays with Tillis Indivisible and the NC Poor People’s Campaign and featured speakers from an array of progressive nonprofits, including the Chapel Hill Carrboro NAACP, All On the Line – NC, Democracy North Carolina, and the NC Poor People’s Campaign.
Led in part by veteran Tuesdays With Tillis organizer, Rev. Karen Ziegler (pictured at right), the demonstrators worked closely with attending law enforcement officers to make sure that the event was peaceful, did not impede public access to the Federal Building and complied with public safety rules — a move that was clearly designed to draw a contrast with the ugly lawlessness of last January’s riot in Washington. At one point, demonstrators seemed to emphasize the dramatic difference by chanting “this is what democracy looks like.”
Despite the overtly peaceful nature of the event, passion amongst attendees was not in short supply — especially when it came to demands that North Carolina representatives in Washington (particularly Senator Thom Tillis) abandon their obsequiousness to former President Donald Trump and his repeated lies about the 2020 election.
Today’s event was one of just hundreds taking place in communities across the country in remembrance of the insurrection. Candlelight vigils will take place this evening in several North Carolina communities. A January 6 Vigil for Democracy will take place from 5:30 to 7:00 pm tonight in Raleigh on Bicentennial Plaza across from the entrance to the Legislative Building. Raleigh’s News & Observer reports that demonstrators will gather tonight in Chapel Hill at 5:30 at the intersection of Franklin and Columbia Streets.
Here are a couple of additional photos from today’s event: