On Wednesday, U.S. allies and adversaries watched in shock and called for peace in Washington, DC, a violent mob of supporters of President Donald Trump who were tricked into believing the election was stolen stormed the Capitol building.
Insurgents loyal to Trump, including some from violent far-right groups, rushed through police lines and stormed into Capitol Hill, disrupting the process of formalizing Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
As the anarchy and chaos unfolding in Congress grabbed headlines around the world, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, tweeted that “enemies of democracy will be delighted to see these incredible images of #WashingtonDC.” He also called on Trump to finally come to terms with his electoral defeat.
“Riot talk turns into violent acts – on the Reichstag steps, and now in the #Capitol,” Maas added. “The contempt for democratic institutions is devastating.”
In London, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the scenes “shameful”.
“The United States is a supporter of democracy in the world and it is now vital that there is a peaceful and orderly transfer of power,” he said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his people were “deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States”.
“Violence will never succeed in overthrowing the will of the people,” Trudeau said. “Democracy in the United States must be maintained – and it will be.”
In Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who has had a combative and difficult relationship with Trump due to the president’s criticism of the security alliance, called the violence “shocking” – a statement which had added weight given that similar statements are usually made by him during times of great turmoil in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere.
“The result of this democratic election must be respected”, Stoltenberg tweeted.
Several other foreign officials and leaders also intervened, including the President of the European Commission:
The Spanish Prime Minister:
The Australian Prime Minister:
And the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Carl Bildt, former Swedish Prime Minister and current co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted that the violence and occupation of the Capitol signaled “the plunder of democracy”.
He included in his post a photo of a smiling man wearing a Trump beanie and carrying a lectern bearing the seal of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The scenes of violence were particularly shocking to those for whom the United States has been a model of freedom and democracy.
Two Eastern European officials told BuzzFeed News that the scenes were more reminiscent of events in eastern Ukraine in 2014, when Russian-backed separatists stormed government buildings after the overthrow of the country’s president, friend of Moscow. They also compared it to what happened in Kyrgyzstan in October, when opposition supporters occupied the Parliament building after elections deemed fraudulent.
Officials spoke on condition of anonymity as their countries rely on the United States for support.
One of them said they “would never imagine that would happen in the United States.”
“It’s crazy,” the official added.
Turkey, a NATO country that faced its own coup attempt in 2016, called for a calm and legal solution. “We call on all parties in the United States to maintain restraint and prudence,” the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement. declaration. “We believe that the United States will overcome this internal political crisis in a mature way.”
The ministry also advised Turkish citizens in the United States to avoid crowded areas and places where protests were taking place.
Venezuela, a frequent Trump boogeyman for the dangers of socialism, also released a statement feigning concern about violence in the United States, which said the Venezuelan elections are illegitimate. “Venezuela condemns the political polarization and the spiral of violence, which call for reflection on the deep crisis that the political and social system of the United States is currently going through,” the statement read. “With this regrettable episode, the United States is suffering the same thing it has caused in other countries with its policy of aggression.”
As dusk fell over a besieged Washington, DC, Trump posted a one-minute video on Twitter urging the crowd he had previously urged to stand up and withdraw – but not before again falsely claiming he had defeated Biden by a “landslide in the election”.