Violence at Capitol Hill in Washington DC – Top developments and the reaction of the world leaders

Top developments

The violence at Capitol Hill in Washington DC Police on Wednesday has left atleast four people dead with more than 50 being arrested. The police have said that at least 14 members of the Metro Police Department have been injured. Two were admitted to hospital, one with serious injuries after being dragged into the crowd and the other was hit by a projectile in the face.

The protesters stormed the Capitol Building when the House and Senate met to debate the certification of President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election. Donal Trump has called on his supporters to go home but repeated his claims that the US Presidential election was stolen.

While the US media was quick to identify the violent protesters as Trump supporters or ‘Trump mob’, doubts are now being expressed over the infiltration of far Left rioters like the Antifa into the protesters group. Supporters of Donald Trump have blamed BLM, Antifa and other anti-Trump groups of infiltrating their ranks and for causing the violence.

Police officers in riot gear continue to guard the streets around the Capitol. Two pipe bombs have been recovered, one from the Democratic National Committee offices and one from the nearby Republican National Committee headquarters.

Earlier, curfew was imposed in Washington DC after as the violence threatened to spill over to other areas of the city. On Thursday, the Mayor of Washington DC imposed a 15 day emergency in the city until the day after the swearing in of the new President.

Meanwhile, Democrats won two Senate seats in Georgia that tipped control of the Senate in their favour. The Democrats have won control of the Senate after Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated Republican incumbents.

Congress has certified Democrats Joe Biden as the next president and Kamala Harris as vice president of the United States. The certification by the Congress finalises the 2020 US electoral process and makes clear that Biden will be inaugurated as president on January 20

Reaction of the world

Here is how the world agencies and leaders from various countries reacted to the developments in the US.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was “saddened” by the breach of the US Capitol building, according to his spokesman Stephane Dujarric. “In such circumstances, it is important that political leaders impress on their followers the need to refrain from violence, as well as to respect democratic processes and the rule of law,” said the UN Spokesperson in a statement.

World Agencies

The president of the General Assembly Volkan Bozkir, meanwhile, said he was “deeply concerned” by the violence and the interruption of the democratic process in the US, where the UN headquarters is located.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed the “strength of US institutions and democracy” and said she was looking forward to working with Joe Biden as the next president.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg called for respect of the outcome of the election held in November last year. “Shocking scenes in Washington, DC,” Stoltenberg tweeted. “The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.”

World Leaders

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that he is distressed to see the news about rioting and violence in Washington DC. He said, orderly and peaceful transfer of power must continue and the democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests.

In a video posted to Twitter, French President Emmanuel Macron described the attack on Congress as “not America” and said he had “confidence in the strength of democracy in the United States.”

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the events in Washington were a source of regret and that New Zealand looked forward to the peaceful transition of power.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned what he described as “very distressing scenes” in the US Congress, and said Australia looked forward to the peaceful transfer of power to the newly-elected administration.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed concern about the violent scenes, saying Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the “disgraceful scenes” and urged a peaceful transition to Democrat Joe Biden’s presidency. “Disgraceful scenes in US Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power,” Johnson said on Twitter.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she was “furious and saddened” by the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump and said the president shared blame for the unrest. “I deeply regret that President Trump has not conceded his defeat, since November and again yesterday,” she said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday condemned as “disgraceful” violence. He said “The rampage at the Capitol yesterday was a disgraceful act that must be vigorously condemned. I have no doubt that American democracy will prevail – it always has.” Lawlessness and violence are the opposite of the values we know Americans and Israelis cherish.

US Detractors

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday the storming of the United States Capitol building demonstrated the failure of Western democracy. “What we saw last night and today in America firstly proved what a failure the Western democracy is and how fragile and weak its foundation is,” he said as reported by PressTV.

He said US President Donald Trump had brought “calamities” on America, accusing the US leader of blemishing the country’s dignity and reputation.

China called for peace in the US on Thursday after the Capitol Hill violence. “China hopes that Americans can enjoy peace, stability and security as soon as possible,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news conference in Beijing.

Russia’s foreign ministry said the US electoral process is archaic and prone to violations. “The events in Washington show that the US electoral process is archaic, does not meet modern standards and is prone to violations,” the foreign ministry said in a statement published by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted: “Venezuela expresses its concern for the violent events that are taking place in the city of Washington, USA; condemns the political polarization and hopes that the American people will open a new path toward stability and social justice.”

Turkey’s foreign ministry called on all parties in the United States to use restraint and calm. “Turkey is monitoring worrying developments in the US, including attempts to storm the Capitol building,” the ministry said in a statement. “We believe that the US will overcome this domestic crisis calmly.”

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