As thousands of President’s Trump’s supporters swarmed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, many carried flags, brandished signs and wore symbols with signaled their affiliation with particular groups and displayed their anger at government.
The Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters were among the right-wing groups that could be identified among the floods of Trump fanatics.
‘More than a cardboard sign, flags are dynamic. They communicate ideas quickly especially when hoisted to the heavens,’ Laura Scofield, a member of the North American Vexillological Association told Quartz.
She argues that flags are ‘the most powerful artifact ever designed’.
Flags and symbols as numbered above: 1. Altered national/state flags, 2. 2nd Amendment rights flags ,3. Gadsden Flag, 4. Betsey Ross / America First flag, 5. Pine Tree Flag, 6. Three Percenters, 7. Trump flags, 8. Come and Take it flag
A man pictured wearing an Oath Keepers hat in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday
Activist Mirko Ilić also explained that white supremacists have been fascinated with how potent flags after their use in Nazi Germany.
‘In my opinion, branding was truly invented by Nazi Germany. It was total design,’ Ilić claims.
‘We have to be vigilant about these symbols because they’re like tea leaves. You can see the future.’
See some of the flags and symbols explained below;
Republic of Kekistan flag
The flag, pictured above on Wednesday, was originally created by some members of the 4chan online community to represent a joke country Kekistan. The nation is ruled by the frog-headed deity Kek, who is often represented by Pepe the Frog
The green, white and black flag is based on a design similar to a Nazi flag
This flag first began to appear in 2017 and it isi a symbol for those who are part of a fictional sect who worship Kek, the ancient Egyptian deity of darkness.
The green, white and black flag is based on a design similar to a Nazi flag and was originally created by some members of the 4chan online community to represent a joke country Kekistan.
The nation is ruled by the frog-headed deity Kek, who is often represented by Pepe the Frog.
‘The Kekistan flag is controversial because its design was partially derived from a Nazi-era flag; this was apparently done on purpose as a joke,’ Pitcavage explained to CNN.
‘Younger right-wingers coming from the 4chan subculture (both mainstream right and extreme right) often like to display the Kekistan flag at rallies and events.’
Unleash the Kraken
A black ‘Unleash the Kraken’ flag can be seen in the center of the crowd
The ‘Unleash the Kraken’ symbol has only recently emerged after Trump former lawyer Sidney Powell, pictured above, used the line as she claimed that she was going to unleash evidence that proved widespread voter fraud and take back the election from Joe Biden
The ‘Unleash the Kraken’ symbol has only recently emerged after Trump former lawyer Sidney Powell used the line as she claimed that she was going to unleash evidence that proved widespread voter fraud and that Joe Biden did not win the presidency.
Powell, who is a known lover of conspiracy theories, never released the promised evidence and was shortly after let go by Trump after backlash over some of her wilder beliefs.
This has not stopped Trump fans from pushing the line as they continue to support his unfounded claims of voter fraud.
Second Amendment rights flags
The black flag in the center Wednesday promotes 2nd Amendment Rights
These flags represent a strong anti-gun control message and come in various forms.
Many will include the phrase ‘Come and Take it’ in a taunt to those who wish to enforce harsher firearm regulations.
The phrase is a quote from Spartan King Leonidas at the Battle of Thermopylae, according to Pitcavage.
The King responded with the line when Persian King Xerxes told him and his people to lay down their spears in return for their lives.
According to Quartz, the ‘Come and Take it’ flag originated in 1835 as a symbol of defiance created by a band of Texans who resisted Mexican forces. It became a battle cry for Texas independence.
Members of the Oath Keepers are seen among supporters of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 presidential election results
A member of the right-wing group Oath Keepers stands guard on the eve of the riot
Oath Keepers believes its members are charged with protecting the country
This pro-Trump, far-right, anti-government group is also considered part of the nation’s militia movement.
It believes that its members are charged with protecting the country and defending the constitution.
According to CNN, the group tries to recruit members from among active or retired military, first responders, or police.
‘The Oath Keepers have been particularly active in 2020, participating in various anti-lockdown protests, providing vigilante-style ‘security’ for local communities and businesses during the Black Lives Matter protests that spread in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, and warning about a potential takeover by the ‘Marxist left’ during the 2020 election,’ according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
INDEX OF CAPITOL RIOT FLAGS AND SYMBOLS
- Altered national/state flags
- 2nd Amendment rights flags
- Gadsden Flag
- Betsey Ross
- Pine Tree Flag
- Three Percenters
- Come and Take it
- Oath Keepers
‘Members of the Oath Keepers have been arrested in connection with a wide range of criminal activities, including various firearms violations, conspiracy to impede federal workers, possession of explosives, and threatening public officials.’
Its founder Stewart Rhodes ‘warns of an insidious global oligarchy bent on destroying America’s constitutional republic’.
He said in an interview with far right conspiracist Alex Jones that he believed violence would be necessary on election day and his group was prepared to protect the White House.
Signs, flags, and clothing simple reading ‘Q’ were common among the thousands of Trump supporters present.
QAnon is a movement known for advocating a far-right conspiracy theory alleging a secret, ‘deep state’ plot against President Trump and his supporters.
The conspiracy theory has moved more into the mainstream in the past year as the president retweeted its claims and backed people who believe in it while they were running for office.
The conspiracy alleges that Trump is leading a secret war against the so-called Deep State which includes many political, business and Hollywood elites.
It pushes the theory that the elites worship Satan, abuse and murder children, and engage in cannibalism.
There has yet to be any conclusive proof of these claims, initially made by an anonymous poster called Q on the 4chan website.
QAnon is a movement known for advocating a far-right conspiracy theory alleging a secret, ‘deep state’ plot against President Trump and his supporters
Trump himself as retweeted videos pushing the conspiracy theory. Its followers can now be identified as they simply hold or wear the letter Q, pictured
It has caused its followers to trawl through pictures celebrities post online to claim they show proof they are eating children and then mount a harassment campaign against them.
However, as well as online harassment, the group has also been linked to a string of violent crimes including armed standoffs, attempted killings and at least one death.
Last year, the FBI issued a warning about ‘conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists’ and designated QAnon as a potential domestic extremist threat.
Among the other conspiracy theories pushed, QAnon also claims Democrats are behind international crime rings.
The group had originally found its roots in Pizzagate, the theory that Hillary Clinton was running a a pedophilia ring from a Washington, D.C., pizza place.
Yet after October 2017, it began to rapidly emerge from the fringes of the internet to appear at Trump rallies, where supporters wore ‘Q’ merchandise.
Even Republican candidate for Congress began to publicly voice their support.
There have at least 50 Republican candidates recently running for public office who have either ‘endorsed or given credence’ to QAnon.
In July, the head of the NYPD’s second-biggest union was been spotted giving interviews with a QAnon mug placed prominently in the background.
Social media platforms have recently attempted to prevent further sharing of the theory with Twitter in particular looking to remove QAnon accounts.
Betsey Ross / America First flag
The Betsey Ross in the early form of the U.S. flag and features only 13 stars
The Betsey Ross is the early form of the U.S. flag that is often used to promote the message of ‘America First’. It has only 13 stars in its corner.
It is not strictly an extremist symbol but has been used by groups as a signal of an idea of more traditional America, which they believe is whiter and male.
Other flags in the crowd made their message simpler, simply reading America First, often with ‘Trump 2020’ attached.
Three Percenters flag
The 3%ers flag uses the traditional Betsy Ross flag but inserts their logo in the stars
The Three Percenters, also known as III%ers, 3%ers or Threepers, are anti-government extremists and part of the country’s militia movement.
On its website, the right-wing Three Percenters group says it isn’t an anti-government militia but ‘we will defend ourselves when necessary.’
The group takes its name from the false claim that three percent of American Colonists fought in the Revolutionary war.
Their flag uses the traditional Betsy Ross flag but inserts their logo in the stars.
The group was founded in 2008 in response to Barack Obama’s election as president, which sparked some allegations of racism against the Three Percenters.
Those accusations intensified after the group provided security in 2017 for the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in which neo-Nazis protested alongside other far-right organizations.
Demonstrators at the event chanted ‘Jews will not replace us,’ waved ‘White Lives Matter’ flags, and one neo-Nazi, James Alex Fields, drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist protestors, killing a 32-year-old woman named Heather Heyer.
Although the Three Percenters have since distanced themselves from the Unite the Right rally, the Southern Poverty Law Center still considers them an anti-government group.
The group has also grown in Canada, where it has been described as an anti-Muslim militia.
Proud Boys and the OK sign
The Proud Boys have become a constant presence at Trump rallies and events. Among their members is convicted Trump crony Roger Stone.
It is a right-wing group who describes themselves as ‘western chauvinists,’ in which members can identify each other by their orange caps. These were recently abandoned, however, after leader Enrique Tarrio was arrested.
The group has also violently clashed with the anti-fascist movement.
‘Their disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists,’ states the Southern Poverty Law Center.
‘They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. Proud Boys have appeared alongside other hate groups at extremist gatherings like the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville.’
It is among the far-right groups that have coopted the okay sign as a signal of white power. It has now been added to the ADL’s list of slogans and symbols used by extremists.
Altered national/state flag
Some of the crowd brought with them altered national, state and local flags.
They incorporated some of the pro-gun and anti-government messages such as ‘Come and Take it’.
Pine Tree Flag
The ‘An Appeal to Heaven’ line is a quote from John Locke’s ‘Second Treatise of Government’ which he used as justification for the overthrow of Britain’s King James II
The Pine Tree flag is a symbol of the Revolutionary War. It features the motto ‘An Appeal to Heaven’, a quote from John Locke’s ‘Second Treatise of Government’.
The quote, which was seen as a call for direct political action, was Locke’s justification for the overthrow of Britain’s King James II.
The full quite read: ‘where the body of the people, or any single man, is deprived of their right, or is under the exercise of a power without right, and have no appeal on earth, then they have a liberty to appeal to heaven, whenever they judge the cause of sufficient moment.’
It argued that the American people have rights that cannot be infringed upon by the government and claimed that rebellion is justified if it is to defend those rights.
Even during the Civil War, the Confederate flag was never flown anyway near U.S. Capitol building, Mark Pitcavage, a historian and expert in extremism with the Anti-Defamation League, told CNN.
Yet on Wednesday, photographs show Trump’s mob carrying it proudly over their shoulder as they marched through its halls, passing the portraits of abolitionists such as Charles Sumner and slaveholders like John Calhoun.
Antaeus Edelsohn, a University of Richmond law student and vexillology enthusiast, told Quartz that the ‘Southern Cross’ had never been publicly paraded inside of the Capitol before.
‘It’s an outright affront to the government in its entirety,’ he said.
The flag is seen as a symbol of slavery and in the aftermath of World War II, a show of support for Jim Crowe and segregation laws. Pitcavage said that it has become a sign of white supremacy worldwide.
Symbols of the Confederacy have been highly criticized this year as Black Lives Matter protests targeted statues of Confederate leaders and called for them to be torn down.
Even during the Civil War, the Confederate flag was never flown anyway near U.S. Capitol building yet was among the most popular worn by Trup supporters on Wednesday
More commonly known as the ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flag and featuring a coiled rattlesnake on a yellow background, the Gadsden is another historical patriotic flag dating to the American Revolution.
It has recently been used by the Tea Party movement, militia groups, and even in sports branding but has also become a sign of opposition to government restrictions and oppression.
Pitcavage tells CNN that it is often used as a ‘symbol of resistance to perceived tyranny’.
The flag is especially popular among Libertarians.
The Gadsden flag has become a sign of opposition to government restrictions and oppressio
Jake Angeli, 32, on Wednesday displayed his tattoos Norse symbols, including a valknot on his upper left chest and what appears to be Thor’s hammer on his stomach, pictured
Viking and Norse symbology do not have racist origins, but they have been misused by white supremist at times. Trump supporter Jake Angeli displayed Norse tattoos on Wednesday
Viking and Norse symbology do not have racist origins, but they have been misused by white supremist at times.
In one of the most memorable costumes worn by Trump supporters on Wednesday, Jake Angeli, 32, displayed his tattoos of such symbols, including a valknot on his upper left chest and what appears to be Thor’s hammer on his stomach.
The heavily tattooed Trump supporter sported horns, a fur hat and face paint, occupied the Senate dais moments after Vice President Mike Pence delivered his rebuke to Donald Trump.
Angeli often known as the QAnon Shaman, has become a fixture at recent right-wing rallies while decked out in his signature attire.
One rioter inside the Capitol was also photographed wearing a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt
Among the Neo-Nazi symbols on display on Wednesday were Nationalist Social Club stickers, a group which includes a Nazi symbol as part of their name.
‘NSC members see themselves as soldiers at war with a hostile, Jewish-controlled system that is deliberately plotting the extinction of the white race,’ according to the ADL.
‘Their goal is to form an underground network of white men who are willing to fight against their perceived enemies through localized direct actions.’
One rioter inside the Capitol was also photographed wearing a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt, referencing the most infamous Nazi concentration camp, where about 1.1 million people were killed during World War II.
The sweatshirt featured skull and crossbones and appeared to read ‘work brings freedom’.
This noose was pictured Wednesday on the West Front of the Capitol
There were multiple nooses established around the Capitol on Wednesday and one Reuters photographer revealed on Twitter that he had heard at least three Trump supports speak about how they wanted to execute Vice President Mike Pence by hanging him from a tree.
Pitcavage told CNN that a noose is often seen as a sign of racial intimidation linked to the history of the lynching of black people in the U.S.
‘It is suggesting that representatives and senators who vote to certify the election results, and possibly Vice President Pence, are committing treason and should be tried and hanged,’ he explained.
Thin Blue Line flags
Thin Blue Line flags representing support for police and law enforcement were also seen on Wednesday despite the attacks that left dozens of police officers injured
Despite the death of one Capitol Police Officer and dozens more being injured in the clashes with Trump supporters, some in the crowd were seen holding Thin Blue Line flags representing support for police and law enforcement.
Already a heavily politicized flag, it became even more contentious in 2020 when used by counter protesters in response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations calling for the defunding of the police.
Trump flags were draped from the U.S. Capitol and rioters took over the building Wednesday
Of course, the most prominent flag at Wednesday’s rally and storming of the Capitol were Trump 2020 ones with the thousands of supporters also decked out in all Trump clothing.
Those rioting through the federal buildings were prominently wearing Make American Great Again Hats and Trump 2020 flags were draped over the walls.