US Capitol riot: Who are oath keepers? Founder of far-right group charged with seditious conspiracy

First sedition charges have been announced by the United States Justice Department on Thursday (January 13) in relation to the January 6 riots and attack on the Capitol. 

After the year-long probe, US prosecutors charged the founder of the far-right oath keepers militia, Stewart Rhodes, and 10 other people with seditious conspiracy. 

The 56-year-old Rhodes and another associate of the organisation, Ed Vallejo, were arrested early Thursday. 

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the Justice Department said in a statement: “Following the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, Rhodes conspired with his co-defendants and others to oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power by Jan. 20, 2021.”

As per the US prosecutors, in late December 2020, Rhodes used private encrypted communications to plan to travel to Washington on January 6, 2021. 

He and others who were involved in the attacks planned to bring weapons to the area to help support the operation the prosecutors mentioned. 

Who are oath keepers?

In the aftermath of the January 6 riots, serious charges have been levied primarily against members of far-right groups like the Proud Boys, the oath keepers and the Three Percenters. 

oath keepers is an American far-right anti-government militia and it members claim that they are defending the Constitution of the United States. 

While doing so, they feel encouraged to disobey orders which they believe would violate the US Constitution. 

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What happened on January 6, 2021?

A mob of hundreds of angry supporters of former United States President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in Washington DC, with an intention to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. 

The rioters vandalised property, assaulted some of the lawmakers and they even occupied the building for several hours. Many were injured and at least five people died either shortly before, during or following the incident.