'Disgraceful scenes': World leaders condemn 'assault on democracy' at US Capitol

Published January 7, 2021
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump occupy the US Capitol Building in Washington on Jan 6. — Reuters
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump occupy the US Capitol Building in Washington on Jan 6. — Reuters

World leaders and governments on Wednesday expressed shock and outrage at the storming of the US Capitol in Washington by supporters of President Donald Trump.

Britain

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Twitter condemned the “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”.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab added in his own tweet: “The US rightly takes great pride in its democracy, and there can be no justification for these violent attempts to frustrate the lawful and proper transition of power”.

European Union

The EU's foreign policy chief condemned an “assault on US democracy”.

“In the eyes of the world, American democracy tonight appears under siege,” Josep Borrell tweeted.

Calling the action an “assault on US democracy, its institutions and the rule of law”, he added: “This is not America. The election results of 3 November must be fully respected.”

France

French leader Emmanuel Macron said: “We will not give in to the violence of a few who want to question” democracy.

In a video posted on his official Twitter account, he added: “What happened today in Washington is not American”.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also condemned “a serious attack on democracy”.

Germany

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on Trump supporters to “stop trampling on democracy”.

“Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of American voters and stop trampling on democracy,” Maas tweeted.“

The enemies of democracy will be pleased to see these incredible images from Washington DC,” he added. “Inflammatory words turn into violent actions.”

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who is also the vice chancellor, likewise condemned the “disturbing images” from Washington.

Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that the scenes at the US Capitol were an “attack on democracy".

“Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour,” he said.

Australia

Australian PM Scott Morrison condemned the “very distressing scenes” in the US.

“We condemn these acts of violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of government to the newly elected administration in the great American democratic tradition,” he tweeted.

New Zealand

Jacinda Ardern tweeted: “Democracy — the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob.”

The PM added her country's thoughts were with everyone “devastated” by today's events, adding: “what is happening is wrong.”

Nato

“Shocking scenes in Washington, DC,” Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg tweeted. “The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.”

The Netherlands

“Horrible images from Washington D.C. Dear @realDonaldTrump, recognise @JoeBiden as the next president today,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter.

The plain-speaking Rutte once during a visit to the White House in 2018 interrupted Trump with a loud “no” when Trump made an assertion about EU-US trade.

Ireland

Irish premier Micheal Martin, who has invited the Irish-American Biden to visit his ancestral homeland early in his presidency, tweeted his condemnation.

“The Irish people have a deep connection with the United States of America, built up over many generations. I know that many, like me, will be watching the scenes unfolding in Washington DC with great concern and dismay,” Martin said.

India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Trump ally who has heaped praise on the outgoing US president in the past, said he was “distressed to see news about rioting and violence” in Washington.

“Orderly and peaceful transfer of power must continue. The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests,” the Hindu nationalist leader tweeted.

Greece

“Extremely troubled by the violence and horrible events taking place in Washington D.C. American democracy is resilient, deeply rooted and will overcome this crisis,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a tweet.

Turkey

“We are following with concern the internal developments happening in the US,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We call on all parties in the US to maintain restraint and prudence. We believe the US will overcome this internal political crisis in a mature manner.”

Austria

“This is an unacceptable assault on democracy. A peaceful and orderly transfer of power must be ensured,” said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Twitter.

Czech Republic

Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said in a tweet: “The looting and violence at the US Senate are not a good example for countries where democracy is fighting hard for a place in the sun.

"Given the emotions sparked by the US presidential election, we could expect today's session to be far from ordinary. Where were the police and the Senate bodyguards...?”

Denmark

“Extremism, violence, polarisation and violence is never the way forward. Terrible pictures from Washington. May democracy be brought back to working again,” Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Facebook.

Spain

Spanish president Pedro Sanchez tweeted he was following events in Washington with “concern”.

“I trust in the strength of America's democracy. The new Presidency of @JoeBiden will overcome this time of tension, uniting the American people.”

Slovenia

Slovenia's right-wing Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who backed Trump and who has yet to congratulate Biden on his victory, tweeted: “All should be very troubled by the violence taking place in Washington D.C."

“We hope American democracy is resilient, deeply rooted and will overcome this crisis. Democracy presupposes peaceful protest, but violence and death threats — from left or right — are always wrong.”

Fiji

The prime minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama — who lead a coup in 2006 and was accused of assaulting an opposition lawmaker in 2019 — added his condemnation.

“The violent scenes we saw in Washington today are an affront to democracies around the globe. True and genuine democracy is a precious treasure that no nation should ever take for granted,” he tweeted.

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