Capitol riots: Americans ‘shocked’ and ‘disgusted’
The storming of the US Capitol building in Washington DC stunned viewers around the world.
But how did Americans feel seeing the seat of their government being ransacked?
Simon grew up in Uganda during its civil war and became a US citizen last year. A master’s student and stay-at-home father, he warns that, while things may settle down, “democracy is not guaranteed”.
I’m disgusted but not surprised. I anticipated this would happen and it was a matter of when, not if.
I didn’t anticipate that it would happen in the capital. This is the president whose people – since the racial justice movement in the summer – said they were for “law and order”. So the “law and order” people broke into the Capitol and changed the American flag with the Trump flag. History shows that has not happened in over 200 years, so it tells you how dangerous this man is.
In Uganda, in November, when the opposition was arrested, people took to the streets and got shot. Here, in the summer, the Capitol building was protected and they were breaking up peaceful protests.
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It’s clear that [Trump supporters] have been organising, we’ve seen this was going to happen, yet we subconsciously did not think that white people are a threat. That is the construct of this country and how law enforcement viewed it.
aylor is a staunch Trump supporter and recently travelled to Washington DC for a post-election pro-Trump rally. A photographer by trade, she was upset by the rioting but believes unsubstantiated claims that left-wing radicals were behind the violence.
It was just heart-breaking to watch what was going on and the behaviour of protesters is just not like the Trump people I’ve been around. If it did come from any conservatives, then I condemn it. There’s no excuse for violence.
It doesn’t change my support for Trump. The people that love Trump, that’s not going to change no matter if he gets a second term or not. It just means we’re going to hold out for 2024 and hope either he runs again or his kids do.
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Our country is going to go downhill over the next four years if Biden does take office. I’m actually moving today out of the city into the suburbs of a Republican county because I am afraid of how Democratic counties will end up under a Biden presidency.
We’re going to catapult towards socialism and communism. I’m worried for the country’s future, but regardless of who takes office, we have a lot of healing to do. I hope we can all find our common humanity and embrace each other when this is all over, which is hopefully soon.
James is a lifelong Republican who worked on Capitol Hill for the party for nearly two decades, but cast his first ever vote for a Democrat in the 2020 election. He was stunned by 6 January’s events and expects it to become a bad footnote in the country’s history.
I find it absolutely shocking. I didn’t think it would come to this.
I had actually thought about going down to the protests with a sign that said “Republicans Against Trump”. My brother said, if I had done that, there would have been five deaths, not four, and he may have been right. I’m astounded by the stupidity of these people who show up without masks and who are being filmed. Quite a few of them are going to prison. It’s a serious situation when you break past a police barricade and go into a building that’s supposed to be secure.
I have a lot of friends who say things couldn’t get worse, but I have to remind them, as a student of history, that it has been worse. The Civil War was much worse. There was a lot of violence in the South during the Reconstruction period. This is something the country will get over. I was heartened by President-elect Biden’s speech yesterday. Finally we’ve got someone who’s sounding presidential. We haven’t had it for the last four years.
A’Kayla is a college student who supports the Black Lives Matter movement. She says law enforcement “coddled” the rioters at the Capitol and thus made an argument for police reform because they were far more aggressive at protests she attended.
It’s so irritating I can’t put into words how frustrating it is. They stormed the Capitol and the police were gentle and lackadaisical with them. I expected the police to use force, but they were so kind and gentle. During the summer, when the Black Lives Matter protests were going on, so many people were injured, locked up and lost their lives.
From my own experience, marching peacefully on the front lines in Charleston, we had tear gas thrown at us and had to pour milk in our eyes. It was excruciating. And for what? We’re marching for a cause, because we had the murder of somebody by the police. What are they upset about? They’re upset because we are living in a democracy and they didn’t get their way.
During one of the debates, when Trump said “stand back and stand by”, is this what he was talking about? This is the calm before the storm. I think it’s going to get way more ugly, but Kamala [Harris] and Joe [Biden] are a symbol of change and hope.
Whether [Trump supporters] like it or not, America is moving towards a more progressive country and there’s going to be a lot of changes.
US President Donald Trump has committed to an “orderly” transition of power a day after his supporters stormed Congress, provoking world condemnation.
Mr Trump’s remarks, posted on Twitter following a suspension, were widely seen as his first public acknowledgement of electoral defeat.
He spoke as top Democrats called for him to be removed from office.
Hours later, Capitol Police said one officer had died from injuries sustained during the riots.
Four others also died during the unrest. Officials said one Trump supporter was shot by police, while three died as a result of “medical emergencies”.
The breach of the seat of US government led to the evacuation of shocked lawmakers, postponing for several hours their certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Mr Trump.
What did Trump say?
Mr Trump returned to Twitter on Thursday evening, following a 12-hour freeze of his account after the social media company said his tweets could stoke violence. In the clip he barely touched on his baseless claims of voter fraud, which had riled diehard supporters on Wednesday outside the White House.
“Now Congress has certified the results a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th,” he said.
“My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
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Mr Trump said he had “immediately deployed” the National Guard to expel the intruders, though some US media reported he had hesitated to send in the troops, leaving his vice-president to give the order.
He also praised his “wonderful supporters” and promised “our incredible journey is only just beginning”.
The video message was the closest he has come to a formal acceptance of his defeat after weeks of falsely insisting he actually won the election in a “landslide”.
In November, he tweeted about Mr Biden: “He won because the Election was Rigged.” But shortly afterwards Mr Trump denied that remark had amounted to a concession of victory to his rival.
Who has resigned?
On Thursday evening, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos became the second cabinet member to quit following the Capitol riot.
In her resignation letter, Ms DeVos – one of the longest serving members of the president’s administration – accused him of fomenting Wednesday’s disorder.
“There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” she wrote.
Earlier in the day, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao stepped down, saying she had been “deeply troubled” by the rampage.
Other aides to quit include special envoy Mick Mulvaney, a senior national security official, and the chief of staff to First Lady Melania Trump. A state department adviser was also sacked after calling Mr Trump “unfit for office” in a tweet.
Who’s seeking to oust Trump?
The top congressional Democrats, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, are urging Vice-President Mike Pence and Mr Trump’s cabinet to remove the president for “his incitement of insurrection”.
“The President’s dangerous and seditious acts necessitate his immediate removal from office,” they said in a joint statement.
The duo called for Mr Trump to be ousted using the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution, which allows the vice-president to step up if the president is unable to perform his duties owing to a mental or physical illness.
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Who stormed the Capitol?
But it would require Mr Pence and at least eight cabinet members to break with Mr Trump and invoke the amendment – something they have so far seemed unlikely to do.
If the vice-president failed to act, Mrs Pelosi indicated she would convene the House to launch their second impeachment proceedings against Mr Trump.
However, to succeed in convicting and removing the president, Democrats would need a two-thirds majority in the Republican-controlled Senate, and there is no indication they would get those numbers.
The New York Times reported, quoting unnamed sources, that Mr Trump was considering granting a pardon to himself in the final days of his presidency. The legality of such a move is untested.
What was the role of the police?
Law enforcement have been heavily criticised after they were overrun by the protesters.
Mr Biden, a Democrat, said: “Nobody could tell me that if it was a group of Black Lives Matter protesters yesterday they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the thugs that stormed the Capitol.”
Images captured inside the Capitol building showed protesters roaming through some of the corridors unimpeded.
However, one officer has been placed on leave after fatally shooting a female demonstrator in the House. Law enforcement told US media she was unarmed.
Washington police say 68 people have so far been arrested, only one of them from the DC area.
The FBI is seeking to identify those involved in the rampage. The Department of Justice says those arrested could face charges of seditious conspiracy, as well as rioting and insurrection.
One of those detained at the Capitol had a “military-style automatic weapon and 11 Molotov cocktails (petrol bombs)”, according to the federal attorney for Washington DC.
On Thursday, crews began installing a non-scalable 7ft (2m) fence around the Capitol. It will remain in place for at least 30 days.
The official responsible for security in the House of Representatives, the sergeant at arms, has resigned. Mr Schumer has called for his counterpart in the Senate to be sacked.
Reports say US Capitol Police (USCP) chief Steven Sund is also resigning, effective 16 January, following calls from Mrs Pelosi.
Five people have now been confirmed dead as a result of Wednesday’s mayhem.
In a statement on Thursday night, US Capitol Police (USCP) announced the death of officer Brian Sicknick.
The officer was “injured while physically engaging with protesters” at the US Capitol and later collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
“The entire USCP Department expresses its deepest sympathies to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends on their loss, and mourns the loss of a friend and colleague,” the statement said.
It said his death would be investigated.
Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old US Air Force veteran from San Diego, California, was named as the woman fatally shot by a police officer.
Three others died after suffering unspecified medical emergencies on Capitol grounds, police said.
They were named as Benjamin Philips, 50, from Pennsylvania; Kevin Greeson, 55, from Alabama; and Rosanne Boyland, 34, from Georgia. Mr Greeson’s family said he died of a heart attack.
Police said that 14 officers had been injured in the riot.