The unprecedented scenes in the US capitol of Washington DC have drawn responses ranging from condemnation to almost satisfaction from America’s allies and enemies across the globe.
- France’s President Emmanuel Macron said his country believes in the “strength of American democracy”
- Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the riots were evidence of the failure of Western democracy
- China compared the reaction form US media to the reaction they had to protests in Hong Kong
Four people died in the violence, including a woman who was shot by police, as supporters of President Donald Trump violently occupied the US Capitol as Congress held a joint session to count the electoral college votes and certify Joe Biden’s election victory.
The attempt to overturn America’s presidential election had elected representatives crouching under desks and donning gas marks, while police futilely tried to barricade the building, one of the most jarring scenes ever to unfold in a seat of American political power.
Britain’s home secretary Priti Patel described the incident as “terrible beyond words”.
Responding to a question about Mr Trump’s role in egging on the rioters, Ms Patel said “words of provocation are completely wrong”.
She called on Mr Trump to “absolutely condemn” everything that had taken place.
Europe expresses support for America
France’s President Emmanuel Macron also condemned the violence while German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier directly criticised Mr Trump.
Mr Macron said the actions by a violent mob of Trump supporters was “not America”.
The French leader made his comments in a video message that was extraordinary both because it veered from the usual diplomatic protocol of allied countries generally refraining from commenting on each other’s internal politics, and because he posted it on Twitter in the middle of the night.
Describing the Capitol building as “the secular temple of American democracy”, Mr Macron tweeted: “What happened today in Washington D.C. is not America, definitely. We believe in the strength of our democracies, we believe in the strength of American democracy.”
He said France and the United States were joined by “a pact of freedom and democracy” and share a “common struggle to ensure that our democracies emerge stronger from this moment that we are all living through”.
“We will not yield an iota to the violence of the few who would challenge that.”
Mr Steinmeier said the violence had come from “an armed mob, spurred on by a sitting president”.
“The scenes we saw are the result of lies and yet more lies, of division and contempt for democracy, of hatred and rabble-rousing, including from the very highest level,” he said.
He said it was a reminder of a demonstration outside the Reichstag in Berlin last August when a group of far-right protesters tried to storm the building following a demonstration against Germany’s pandemic restrictions, but were intercepted by police and forcibly removed.
Riots a ‘failure of Western democracy’
In the Middle East, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the riots were evidence of the failure of Western democracy.
He said US President Donald Trump had brought “calamities” on America, accusing the US leader of blemishing the country’s dignity and reputation.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned what he described as a “rampage” by the pro-Trump mob, saying it ran contrary to the shared values of the two countries.
“The rampage at the Capitol yesterday was a disgraceful act and it must be vigorously condemned,” Mr Netanyahu said while also thanking the Trump administration for achieving normalisation deals with four Arab countries.
China accuses US media of hypocrisy
China accused America of double standards with foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying comparing the incident with violent protests that took place in Hong Kong.
“The mainstream media in the United States have unanimously condemned this (the storming of the Capitol) as a violent incident, using words like thugs, extremists, villains,” said Ms Hua.
“We should think deeply about the reason behind the sharp contrast of such different attitudes of the US towards what happened in Hong Kong in 2019 and what is happening in the United States today.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he was “distressed” at the rioting.
“The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests”, he wrote.
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte also condemned the violence, writing on Twitter that he was following events with “great concern”.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry expressed regret over the clashes in Washington.
Spokeswomen Joanne Ou said the nation would continue to pay close attention to the “relevant developments” in the US following the unprecedented scenes.
Ms Ou added Taiwan’s representative office in the US had issued an emergency statement asking overseas Taiwanese who live in Washington to pay attention to their own safety and avoid going out during the curfew.
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