OLD FORGE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A Northeastern Pennsylvania political activist who was among fellow protesters Wednesday outside the Capitol building is talking about what went horribly wrong.
The Lackawanna County man organized several busloads of local people to participate in that protest. Frank Scavo has publicly denounced the way the election was conducted that ended with President Donald Trump losing his reelection bid. He led a group of 200 protesters from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area Wednesday to voice their displeasure.
What they walked into is what some now describe as a day that will live in infamy.
Scavo says, “You can see older women, younger men here just chanting USA. There’s flags. There is absolutely no, there’s no assaults. This is a peacefully assembled crowd.”
But what Frank Scavo captured on his phone Wednesday afternoon would eventually turn to chaos at the Capitol.
“About 1:00 or 1:30, Mike Pence announced that he was not going to decertify the election and send it back to the states,” Scavo said.
Scavo says he called for his group, who was at the back of the Capitol building, to get ready to go home.
“About 10 minutes later, I hear the first boom and I said geez, what was that?” Scavo said.
Scavo said his group made their way across the street from the front of the Capitol building and stood behind barricades watching as some other protesters climbed Capitol building scaffolding in place for this month’s presidential inauguration.
“And we could see people up along the railing, which obviously means how did these people get in there. And then we started to see the tear gas and another series of flash bangs,” Scavo said.
Scavo said his group then returned to the back of the Capitol building where he believed it would be safer.
“But by that point, the crowds have flooded around and now the crowds are at the back of the Capitol steps so now they’re going up,” Scavo said.
Rioters would storm the House chamber. Scavo said he had no inkling the day would dissolve into violence.
“This was concerned Americans at their Capitol seeing the process. I don’t think there was any intent to what happened to happen,” Scavo said.
While he says he is remorseful the Capitol building was stormed which ended with police fatally shooting one of the intruders, he does not regret taking his group to Washington, D.C.
“I just gave it some direction to go down to Washington and show that we are here and we are watching. The people that went crazy, you know, that’s free will. I can’t control it. I’m not responsible for that,” Scavo said.
Scavo also said he is unsure if the violence was sparked by Trump supporters or left-wing militants who mixed in with the massive crowd.
Editor’s Note: We should point out that there has been no credible evidence to verify anyone from Antifa or any other left-leaning groups were part of the riot.
Scavo told Eyewitness News he will not let the chaos at the Capitol prevent him from organizing future political protest efforts.