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Yesterday, Wednesday 6th of January, violent Trump supporters raided Capitol Hill in Washington, as lawmakers met to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s poll win.
Congress members were escorted from the scene by police before the rioters were able to access the House Representatives. The rioters were seen chanting “We want Trump” as they broke windows and doors marching into the building.
Talking to Sky News, Trump supporters explained their decision:
“Our freedom is being stripped from us. Everything is being taken from us. If we can’t have a fair election, then what else do we have? We believe in the flag; the constitution and God and we want all that put back into politics.”
There were ongoing reports of guns being drawn in the building, which led to the death of one rioter and many injured police. Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said the rioter was a woman who was part of a group of individuals that forced entry into the House room, which was still in session. They were confronted by plainclothes officers when an officer pulled out a weapon and fired. The rioter has not been officially named, but local media identified her as US Air Force veteran and Trump supporter Ashli Babbit. Officials said the three other deaths included one woman and two men, but details of how they died have not yet been made public. It’s stated that 14 members of police were injured during the riot.
What happened at the scene?
According to Washington Metropolitan Police Chief, Robert Contee, some of the rioters, who were in full body armour, were using chemical irritants to attack police whilst shouting and waving pro-Trump and US flags, whilst demanding the results of the presidential election to be overturned.
Thousands of National Guard troops, FBI agents and US Secret Service were deployed to help the police. Reports also indicated that two pipe bombs were recovered, one from the Democratic National Committee offices and one from the nearby Republican National Committee headquarters.
The riots at the Capitol lasted over three hours before the building was secured by law enforcement. However, many rioters did not abide Trump’s call to go home, despite a city-wide curfew declared by the City Mayor from 18:00 to 06:00. So far, more than 52 people have been arrested.
After law enforcement took back control of Capitol Hill, Congress returned to their posts to continue the election certification through the night. Vice President Mike Pence announced at 3:40 a.m, today, that President-elect Joe Biden had won the presidency after Congress completed the counting of the Electoral College votes.
The public’s voice
Millions around the world have taken to social media to express their concerns and opinions of the riot. Many note a noticeable difference from the police force which was present during the peaceful ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest outside Congress. Reports indicate that the police force were seen taking ‘selfies’ with the Trump supporters and taking a much calmer approach to the aggressive rioters due to their race.
British talk show host Piers Morgan tweeted:
“If these rioters were mainly Black or Muslim, the police would be behaving in a far more aggressive way. Incredible to see how calmly they are treating such an appalling assault on US democracy. #USCapitol”
Whilst CNN Anchor Don Lemon suggests the world shouldn’t be surprised of these actions:
“Why is everyone saying they’re shocked by this? This is not shocking. This was inevitable. No one should be shocked or surprised.”
It is clear that Trump’s reign has left a devastating affect and divide on the American people. His rhetoric and hate speech about people of colour is the cause of America’s deep-rooted divide. Trump has targeted Muslims, Mexicans, Syrian refugee’s, congresswomen of colour, the former president Barack Obama and so many more. In a previous presidential debate, he refused to denounce white supremacists and has defended them, stating there’s “fine people on both sides” at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. At a rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, Trump stated to the mostly white crowd that they had “good genes” while attacking Somali refugees.
His presidential campaign was based off hatred towards the Mexicans, describing Mexican immigrants as “rapists” who bring drugs and crime to America and vowing to build a wall at the U.S. and Mexico border. President-elect Joe Biden has stated that Trump “has fanned the flames of hate in this country” from hate speech and racist policies.
“Muslim communities were the first to feel Donald Trump’s assault on Black and brown communities in this country with his vile Muslim ban,” Biden said. “That fight was the opening barrage in what has been nearly four years of constant pressure and insults, and attacks against Muslim American communities.”
Hopefully with a new era of presidency, the people of America can come together once again.