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Picture Credit: India Today
What was meant to be a ceremonial session of the Congress to formalize President-elect Joe Biden victory has turned into a series of one of the most unprecedented events of violence that the United States has witnessed as a pro-Trump mob, partially masked and fully armed, stormed into the Capitol building ‘seizing it’ halting the counting of electoral votes.
Signs of violence were noticed at around Wednesday 2:15 pm EST as the proceedings were halted while ground security ushered Vice President Mike Pence out of the Senate Chambers. The Capitol was immediately locked down as senators and lawmakers were scurried inside their chambers to be locked away safely. What was already an evening of horror with protestors storming up the steps of the capitol and scaling the building in an attempt to gain entry, the fear of the lawmakers trapped inside was further aggravated as gunshots were heard inside the building at close proximity inciting in them a fear for their lives. Protestors have gone so far as vandalizing Speaker Pelosi’s office along with carrying her podium away, flipping tables, and leaving unflattering notes around. Fearing greater violence, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. announced a citywide curfew at 6 pm EST. As of now 4 people have been declared dead as a result of the violence. Amidst protests, control was finally restored as Vice President Mike Pence presided over the session which saw that objection from pro-Trump lawmakers would be overruled by the overwhelming support for Joe Biden. Pence was quoted saying ‘To all those who wrecked havoc in our Capitol today- you did not win’.
A protestor after vandalizing Speaker Pelosi’s office
Picture Credit: NY Times
President Trump’s address: An ‘appeal’ to the masses
In light of the horrific rioting inside the Capitol Hill, Politicians across America including former President Barack Obama have joined President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President elect Kamala Harris in condemning what can only be seen as an act of violence that not only disturbs the sanctity of the nation in trying times but also questions the validity of a democratically conducted election. President Trump’s address to the rioters has an almost condoning tone to it as he starts off his speech in an empathising tone acknowledging that they are ‘hurt’ and reinstating his beliefs legitimising the anger of his followers at an ‘unfairly conducted election’. He does not for once condemn this clear act of unprecedented violence and only asks them to go back home to maintain law and order. President Trump’s complicit address remains proof of his inability to accept defeat in an election where more than 159 million Americans voted and chose their leader. Ever since his defeat in the elections, President Trump has been in a constant denial at his loss, fueling anger in his supporters towards the new President elect. He had even taken to twitter to falsely claim his victory, a tweet that was later taken down as a result of erroneous information.
Continuous efforts have been made on the Republican side to discredit Joe Biden’s victory as even recently 11 Republican senators and senator-elect led by Ted Cruz moved to delay Biden’s assent as President in lieu of unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud. Fearing further incitement from President Trump, social media platforms Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have already suspended President Trump’s account while Twitter was the first to announce that they will suspend it for 12 hours.
Picture Credit: Times of Israel
Does colour matter?
Images surfacing from inside the Capitol showed protestors were seen brandishing posters saying ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘All Lives Matter’ (a response to the black lives matter banner) while fighting off cops who were trying to take control of the situation. However what is ironic to note is that while the police attempted to lead the protestors out even escorting them by their hand one cannot help but notice the stark difference in the police’s treatment towards peaceful protestors at the Black Lives Matter movement where protestors were fired with tear gas and even physically assaulted raising pertinent questions surrounding racial discrimination in the United States. Is colour, race and ideology such a divider that it can transcend over the democratic ideal that America was built on or can the people of America battle their biggest demon, racism, so that they may proudly call themselves the citizens of a land that is the land of the free and the home of the brave.
By Tanistha Bhagawati