Long Islanders urge voters not to take democracy for granted at Jan. 6 anniversary rally
Dozens of Long Islanders gathered in South Huntington to reflect on the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots.
Residents urged voters not to take democracy for granted a year after a violent mob stormed the Capitol building in protest of the 2020 election results.
"If you don't defend a democracy, we won't have it anymore," says Northport resident Leslie Anesta. "There are lots of countries that have lost their rights."
Rep. Tom Suozzi was at the Capitol as violent protesters smashed windows and threatened the vice president and members of Congress.
"There was standoff at the door," Suozzi said. "We were told to evacuate."
Several Long Islanders are facing federal charges for their alleged involvement in the riot.
Shawn Farash, a member of Long Island Loud Majority and supporter of former President Donald Trump, was outside the U.S. Capitol that day.
He doesn't condone the violence but says it wasn't an insurrection.
"There was a very slim likelihood that that protest could result in anything that would change the outcome, the certified outcome of the 2020 election," Farash says.
In the year since the Capitol riot, more than 30 laws have been passed in over a dozen different states, including many with the most electoral votes, that make it harder for votes to cast ballots.
Long Islanders are also calling on Congress to move forward on a handful of bills, including the Freedom to Vote Act to protect voting rights.
Seven people died as a result of the attack, including three police officers.
"Our goal is to have every eligible American citizen vote," says Northport resident Liz Thalheimer. "Period."