There was total chaos at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday afternoon after supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump breached security barriers and overpowered officers to force their way into the historic building to protest against the counting of the state electoral votes – which is purely ceremonial – to certify Joe Biden as president-elect.
Prior to the rioting, the pro-Trump supporters had gathered at the nation’s capital to protest against allegations of voter fraud during the November 3 presidential election – allegations which had been labeled as baseless – and to call on the Senate and the House of Representatives to reject the certification of the results. The rioting was also spurred by a speech Trump gave while addressing them as he reiterated the election was fraudulent and called on the protesters to “walk down to the Capitol.”
Live TV coverage and videos on social media showed the MAGA supporters scaling the walls of the building and trying to force their way into the chamber – which they eventually did. The session had to be suspended, and Vice President Mike Pence as well as the senators and representatives had to be moved to safety.
The unprecedented standoff resulted in four casualties as one woman was fatally shot in the chest, and the other three died as a result of medical emergencies during the rioting, CNN reported. After the security agencies managed to clear the rioters from the building, the session reconvened later in the evening.
Following the disturbing incident, several people, including world leaders and celebrities, moved to condemn it and called for democracy to prevail and for the smooth transition of power to president-elect Biden. Former President Barack Obama released a statement Wednesday saying the violence was “incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation.”
“But we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise,” he wrote.
Scores of people on social media also chastised the officers for being too “soft” on the protestors who had besieged a state building and security zone, and also compared it to the excessive use of force that was meted to largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters last year. Others also simply called out White privilege.
Take a look at some of the celebrity reactions below: