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Athens Residents Rally for Democracy on Jan. 6 Riot Anniversary

Credit: Sarah White

Dozens of Athens residents gathered at City Hall on the anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection, when Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential race.

“It threatened the very core of democracy,” said Linda Lloyd, a longtime local advocate for voting rights and economic justice. “I’d never seen anything like that.”

The riot left five people dead and 140 Capitol police officers injured. Among others, Trump supporters targeted Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the formality of counting electoral college votes, which numerous Republicans challenged despite lacking any evidence of irregularities.

The rally was organized by progressive groups Indivisible Georgia District 10, the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens and the New Georgia Project, which brought a box truck carrying signs declaring Rep. Jody Hice “dangerous to democracy.”

Hice, a Lake Oconee Republican who represents Athens in Congress, egged on the insurrectionists by declaring Jan. 6, 2021 “our 1776 moment,” a reference to the American Revolution. He’s now running to oversee Georgia elections as secretary of state on the platform of fealty to Trump’s lies about election fraud.

“This is the time, I’m telling you, if we don’t stand up now, we will lose democracy,” District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez, a Democrat, told the crowd. “We can’t let that happen again. We can’t let the forces that want to end democracy succeed.”