A motley crew of miscreants, extremists and fringe movements proudly displayed their slogans and insignia - and maskless faces - for the world to see.
Scenes from Wednesday’s assault in Washington DC were a shock to many Americans and the world at large, but to many on the far-right, it was the culmination of a long-unfolding saga.
Judging by the bizarre cast of characters incited by US President Donald Trump to march on the Capitol to #stopthesteal, it was closer to a circus than a coup.
As overzealous Trump supporters broke into the temple of American democracy, eventually giving way to scenes of ransacked offices and eventually a fatal shooting.
Given the mob was likely made up of pious anti-maskers, groupthink suggested it better to be identified and photographed while committing crimes lest a tyrannical piece of cloth cuts off your oxygen supply.
In the midst of the chaos, the podium of the Speaker of the House was looted, albeit with a smile:
The most recognisable figure in videos and photos of the chaos was a topless man donning a raccoon fur hood, patriotic face paint, and Viking horns – Arizonian voice actor Jake Angeli, or “QAnon Shaman” as he’s known by his followers.
The Q Shaman is inside the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/VwotkTbxsv— QAA Podcast (@QanonAnonymous) January 6, 2021
I, for one, embrace our new Q shaman house leader, and no, I do not think he needs a shirt. pic.twitter.com/5tXPHZ7VF2— Ben Kaminsky (@jaminsky) January 6, 2021
Angeli quickly became the symbol of a weird and frightening spectacle as he roamed the halls holding an American flag fixed to a spear in one hand and a bullhorn in the other.
Jake Angeli, also known as the “QAnon Shaman” or “Q-Shaman,” was a key figure during the storming of the US Capitol building and is wanted by the police.— TRT World (@trtworld) January 8, 2021
Here are some of his conspiracy theories in a 2020 interview pic.twitter.com/B64qgZMSHP
Another came to protest with a bright red MAGA cap perched on top of a ghillie suit.
Joe, 47, wears a ghillie suit. He’s from south of Tampa, FL and believes the election was stolen from Republicans.— DCist (@DCist) January 6, 2021
He says if Joe Biden's win is certified today then “we’re going to keep fighting...and we’re all going to ban together for America.” https://t.co/1utc2HoRzp pic.twitter.com/n14s6WInvn
Others were dressed in Revolutionary War outfits, while some just looked like they escaped from an infirmary.
Not to be outdone, a costumed rioter and son of a New York judge, showed up wearing fur pelts, a bulletproof vest and carrying a riot shield while looking like an extra from The Revenant.
The guy dressed in fur pelts and a bullet proof vest is the son of a Brooklyn Surpreme Court Judge, whose also a prominent Orthodox figure in Brooklyn and former president of the National Council of Young Israel. https://t.co/rBXuR0KJK5 pic.twitter.com/VdflPWYnD8— Christiaan Triebert (@trbrtc) January 7, 2021
On display were a number of slogans bringing together a gamut of conspiracy theories and extremist ideologies, which included prominent holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis.
Far-right activist ‘Baked Alaska’ aka Tim Gionet, live-streamed from inside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and was joined by Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist that heads the far-right Groyper Army.
Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and neo-nazi loser Baked Alaska both live-streamed from Pelosi's office after storming the capitol. Neither have been arrested. pic.twitter.com/HEAQQKQgp0— Nathan Bernard (@nathanTbernard) January 6, 2021
The neo-Nazi group NSC-131 also joined in:
NSC 131 was aanwezig, groep uit New England.— Bruno Struys (@brunostruys) January 7, 2021
NSC = Nationalist Social Club
1=A, 3=C —> 131 = ACA, code voor Anti-Communist Action. pic.twitter.com/fznGT4XAER
Nick Ochs, the founder of Proud Boys Hawaii, a chapter of the far-right group, was present as well – even tweeting a selfie of himself smoking a cigarette in the Capitol:
Hello from the Capital lol pic.twitter.com/H1Axdou708— Dictator of Hawaii Elect Nick Ochs (@OchsForHawaii) January 6, 2021
One sweatshirt read “Camp Auschwitz,” along with the message “Work brings freedom” – a rough translation of the message that greeted Jewish prisoners at the infamous Nazi concentration camp.
You had people in the Capitol that were very fine people, on both sides, including the guy with the Camp Auschwitz tshirt. pic.twitter.com/RGwWYxF4qi— Bill Grueskin (@BGrueskin) January 7, 2021
Some more strikingly hateful insignia included Confederate flags and nooses:
During the four years of the Civil War, the confederates never got closer to Washington than Fort Stevens. Until today, when insurrectionist supporters of @realDonaldTrump paraded through the U.S. Capitol Building carrying the Confederate battle flag. pic.twitter.com/mPye0ziVlj— Jordan Fischer (@JordanOnRecord) January 6, 2021
They made a noose from the camera cord and hung it from a tree. pic.twitter.com/M9KC7odLAm— Paul McLeod (@pdmcleod) January 6, 2021
One of the most widely shared photos showed Richard “Bigo” Barnett, the leader of a pro-gun rights group in Arkansas, lounging in Nancy Pelosi’s office with his feet up on a desk.
The man pictured in Nancy Pelosi’s office took a piece of her mail, made it out safely, then posed for a pic pic.twitter.com/UckbTRHZsW— Kayla Brantley (@_KaylaBrantley) January 6, 2021
Several members of the mob wore or carried signs invoking the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory, which falsely alleges that an elite cabal of paedophiles, run by Democrats, are plotting to harvest the blood of children.
Many QAnon followers often wear garments adorned with a huge “Q” – which is supposed to represent a supposed high-ranking government official who shares inside information through cryptic posts.
Several of them were present at the Capitol.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Anarchy in the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/g0whZKDBOv— Kevin Shipp (@Kevin_Shipp) January 7, 2021
For those whose faith in Q might otherwise be challenged by a litany of false predictions over the years, “trust the plan” is a phrase that the theory’s adherents have made popular, many of which were visible.
As was messaging related to saving children, a core tenet of QAnon.
We notice the angry White men of the militia/fight club/tactical gear side of today, but don’t miss the softer QAnon-save the children side, the women (mostly but not exclusively White) in various photos, and signs of anti-vax & Q-influenced radicalization pic.twitter.com/Yf8bHDm9MN— Elyse Eidman-Aadahl (@ElyseEA) January 7, 2021
Another symbol favoured by anti-government militias like the Boogaloo Bois is the coiled snake above the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me,” known as the Gadsden flag, which symbolises support for gun rights and individual liberties.
“If you don’t get the right answer today, you come back with your rifles!” pic.twitter.com/F0fdKwPq3F— Zachary Petrizzo (@ZTPetrizzo) January 6, 2021
Crusader crosses were prominent fixtures in the crowd too.
Although some seem to have had a bit of a mix up with the flag of Georgia the country and the US state:
This guy really just typed 'Georgia flag' into Amazon and clicked on the top result pic.twitter.com/jpL7XIUI0U— Eoin. (@eoinburgin) January 6, 2021
In the midst were Iranian monarchist flags, along with a number of other countries including Israel, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Canada and...South Vietnam.
The Pahlavi flag being flown in a protest where the U.S. Capitol is stormed is one of the most mind-boggling and shameful things I have ever seen.— Esfandyar Batmanghelidj (@yarbatman) January 6, 2021
I guess anything can happen in 40 years. pic.twitter.com/YGel1uYfo3
Capping off the odd melange were anti-circumcision slogans, which in far-right circles are laced with anti-Semitic undertones rather than any ethical or medical qualms:
Thank you, Fox News, for showing why the protests broke out today. pic.twitter.com/YeHcl754Jp— Scott Bromley (@Scott_Bromley) January 6, 2021