ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Around 70 people sat inside a St. Petersburg church Thursday to watch the Jan. 6 hearing.

It was one of many watch events across the country.

The watch event was organized by PDA Pinellas, St. Pete for Change and Fired-Up Pinellas. It was held at Allendale United Methodist Church.

When Michael Fox thinks of Jan. 6, he can’t help but get emotional.

“Shame,” Fox said. “We’re at a crossroads in our democracy.”

Like so many people across the country Thursday, he went back to that day in 2021.

Fox, who’s with Progressive Democrats of America National, joined dozens of people in St. Petersburg to watch the Jan. 6 hearing. They wanted to send a message that voters decide the outcome of elections.

“This is about us finding out what happened in the single most politically violent event since the Civil War,” Fox said. “This isn’t about politics, for God’s sake. This is about who we are as people.”

St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch said he hopes the country responds in the right way.

“We’ve got to stand up for what matters and the truth and the facts in this country,” Welch said.

Jonathan Torres is a Republican consultant and a former member of the Tampa Bay Young Republicans.
He calls the Capitol riot hearings a political spectacle.

“Majority of Americans really aren’t paying attention to this anymore, they don’t care, they want to move on,” Torres said. “People are struggling to pay their bills. They’re struggling to feed their families. They’re struggling to make ends meet and the last thing they want is political theater over an event that’s not going to change anything.”

On the anniversary, Governor Ron DeSantis said Democrats are politicizing the day, a position echoed by many Florida Republicans.

“January 6 allows them to create narratives that are negative about people, you know, that supported Donald Trump,” DeSantis said.

Organizers said they will see how people feel after Thursday night, but they anticipate holding more watch parties as long as the hearings last.