Central Coast reacts to U.S. Capitol breach
MONTEREY, Calif. (KION)
At Window on the Bay in Monterey, Wednesday, local Republicans took to the streets in the wake of unrest at the U.S. Capitol to voice support for President Trump while also denouncing the violence that occurred.
Many local Republican demonstrators say what happened at the U.S Capitol sends a message that in their opinion, the presidential election is not over yet.
The Republican demonstrators were met with counter demonstrators, where a heated exchange of words took place between the groups as well as with people who were driving by.
The Republican demonstrators say they feel more work still needs to be done as far as reviewing votes before the next president takes office.
“There’s still evidence to be presented, overwhelming evidence, of voter fraud that if investigated, would change the election results," says Karen Reissman with the Monterey County Republican Party.
The demonstrators say the violence that happened at the U.S. Capitol is not a reflection of local Republican groups.
“Not all those people that broke in there were us, because that’s not our way," says Monterey resident and Republican member, Nikki Schoessow.
Demonstrators say they believe it's the extremist groups who should be held responsible.
KION reached out to Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Expert Jason Blazakis who says he observed the presence of some far right extremist groups at the Capitol during the breach.
"The Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers were certainly there and QAnon was absolutely there, QAnon supporters," says Blazakis.
Blazakis says part of his job is to monitor online platforms where anything might indicate extreme rhetoric.
"Over Parler there's been a lot of talks certainly about January sixth, a lot of talk about a need for civil war, a civil war which would keep in place President Trump," says Blazakis.
He further explains a lot of online material does not necessarily cross a legal line because it is considered free speech, but when specific or direct harm is incited, that's when the material is flagged to social media companies and reported to local law enforcement.
Local demonstrators in Monterey say they expect to see more movements.
Blazakis says there is a possibility of more movements in the weeks leading up to the Presidential inauguration.
“I think people need to be on guard these next two weeks, particularly if they’re going to go to public buildings where there could be protests, there is a possibility those protests could spill over," says Blazakis.
Local Republican and Democratic groups on the Central Coast say they are trying to keep the peace as much as possible.