The storming of the US Congress by Trump supporters on Wednesday sent shockwaves around the globe.
World leaders reacted with disbelief and horror at the storming the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., the iconic center of the foremost democracy in the world.
Four people died and scores injured during clashes between demonstrators and security forces. A protester was shot dead by police and three others died of “medical emergencies”, police say.
The violence erupted after Trump spoke to protesters to repeat his false claim that he won the US election in November. Although he later repeated that he wanted protesters to leave the Capitol, and do so peacefully, his words of support seemed to incite the crowd.
“Shocking” and “disgraceful”
World leaders around the world reacted with concern online, describing the chaotic scenes as “shocking” and “disgraceful.”
Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he was “extremely troubled by the violence.”
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.
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) January 6, 2021
“Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbor,” tweeted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld – and it will be.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 6, 2021
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said: “I have trust in the strength of US democracy. The new presidency of Joe Biden will overcome this tense stage, uniting the American people.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian condemned the “grave attack against democracy”, while his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, said Trump and his supporters “must accept the decision of American voters at last and stop trampling on democracy”.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the “very distressing” scenes of violence, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tweeted, “What is happening is wrong. 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.”
Trump must stop this
Several leaders held the US President personally responsible for the upset and its resolution.
“What we are now seeing from Washington is a completely unacceptable attack on democracy in the United States. President Trump is responsible for stopping this. Scary pictures, and amazing that this is the United States,” wrote Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
Unbelievable scenes from Washington D.C. This is a totally unacceptable attack on democracy. A heavy responsibility now rests on President Trump to put a stop to this.
— Erna Solberg (@erna_solberg) January 6, 2021
“President Trump and several members of Congress bear substantial responsibility for developments,” tweeted Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. “The democratic election process must be respected.”
And Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte addressed Trump directly. “Horrible images from Washington DC Dear Donald Trump, recognise Joe Biden as the next president today.”
— Mark Rutte (@MinPres) January 6, 2021
“This is not America”
“This is not America,” wrote European Union High Representative Josep Borrell, who described the mob’s actions as “an unseen assault on US democracy, its institutions and the rule of law.”
“The United States stands for democracy around the world,” wrote UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Twitter. “The US Congress is a temple of democracy. To witness tonight’s scenes in #WashingtonDC is a shock,” said President of the European Council Charles Michel.
The US Congress is a temple of democracy.
To witness tonight’s scenes in #WashingtonDC is a shock.
We trust the US to ensure a peaceful transfer of power to @JoeBiden
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) January 6, 2021
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged Americans to respect the outcome of the November election — a call echoed by European Parliament President David Sassoli, who added, “We are certain the US will ensure that the rules of democracy are protected.”
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, also wrote, “I believe in the strength of US institutions and democracy. Peaceful transition of power is at the core. Joe Biden won the election.”
“I look forward to working with him as the next President of the USA,” she added.