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Jan. 6 protester who sprayed police will remain in detention, US judge orders

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Supporters of US President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at a door they broke open as they storm the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021. (Reuters photo)

A US judged has ordered the continued detention of a protester before his trial over spraying police during the Jan. 6 raid by Trump supporters into the Capitol.

US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued the ruling on Monday, arguing that she found there was "clear and convincing evidence" to continue detention of Samuel Lazar, 37, of Ephrata, Pennsylvania.

The judge added that during the protest to overturn the election results in favor of former President Donald Trump, Lazar "immediately weaponizes" the spray "and not in self defense."

Over 660 people have been arrested in connection with the attack, described as the worst violence since the British invasion during the 1812 War. Four people also died in the attack, including a senior police officer.

US prosecutors have said Lazar "discharged a chemical irritant at three police officers" and later "bragged in a video about macing police."

Lazar has described the Capitol riot “as a war" and his "bellicose attitude... adds to the level of concern here," Jackson said.

Since Jan. 6, Democrats have been arguing that the protest was an insurrection based on disinformation spread by the former president, alleging that he was the true victor of the 2020 presidential election and not Biden.

Trump has been blamed by Democrats of inciting his supporters to raid the Capital after a loss in the 2020 presidential race.

Although Trump appears to have gotten away with inciting violence and not recognizing Biden as the new president, some Democratic and Republican lawmakers are pursuing the issue to make sure pressure is maintained on the former leader.

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