Al Sharpton draws comparison between Jan. 6 riot and college protests 

Sharpton AP

The Rev. Al Sharpton on Thursday compared the pro-Palestinian protests currently taking place on college campuses to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, accusing Democrats of having a double standard when it comes to the demonstrations.

“Anytime what you are protesting for becomes secondary to what you are doing, then you’re really not protesting for it, and you, in many ways, dramatize,” Sharpton said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“What I did in other situations was to bring attention to a cause, not become the cause, and what is troubling me about a lot of this is they’ve become the cause. It’s about them. It’s not about pushing the cause,” Sharpton continued, adding later, “How do the Democrats, how do all of us on that side say January 6 was wrong if you can have the same pictures going on on college campuses.”

Hundreds of students and faculty have protested on college campuses across the nation, calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and for universities and the United States to sever ties with Israel.

The protests were mostly peaceful but came to a head this week after protesters took over a building at Columbia University, prompting New York Police Department officers to move in and break up the demonstrations.

On the west coast, counter protestors at the University of California, Los Angeles tried to forcibly dismantle a pro-Palestinian encampment, leading to violent skirmishes Tuesday night. Police entered the encampment early Thursday and began dismantling tents after hours of threatening arrests.

Sharpton argued the message of the protests is being lost in the unrest.

“They need to ask themselves, if they were sincere, are you really focusing on what’s going on in Gaza, about the children, about the women, about the innocent people? Sharpton said. “And in Israel, are you focusing on whether or not you are violent or whether or not you can say the most incendiary statement? How are you guiding this? It’s about them and I think they’ve lost the message, and I think that’s because they’ve been infiltrated by people that are not them.”

Sharpton is not the first to draw the comparison between the student protestors and those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Former President Trump this week questioned if the Columbia University students who took over the building will face similar consequences to those who have been charged in the Capitol insurrection.

“This whole country is up in arms, breaking into colleges, knocking the hell out of Columbia University,” Trump told reporters Tuesday.

“I mean, they took over — I know the building very well. They took over a building, that is a big deal,” the former president continued. “And I wonder if what’s going to happen to them will be anything comparable to what happened to J6, because they’re doing a lot of destruction, a lot of damages, a lot of people getting hurt very badly.”

Hundreds of people have been criminally charged in connection with their role in the Capitol insurrection. Trump himself is facing federal charges in Washington, D.C., over his alleged attempts to subvert the election and remain in power.

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