Source: Business Insider India
On January 6th, a violent mob of thousands of Trump supporters invaded the United States capitol. Pro-Trump rallies were organized in different parts of the country, however, crowds were much smaller in number in other states as compared to Washington. But they made use of the same rhetoric, categorizing Democratic politicians and some Republicans as “traitors”, who are disloyal to their President, Donald Trump.
A few days after the incident, the FBI warned of plans for more armed protests being organized from January 16th in the US capitol and other states before Biden’s inauguration and alerted the government of extreme violence.
According to various news reports, in Kansas, the Pro-Trump demonstrations did not turn violent as the protesters resorted to peaceful methods of protest while in Nevada, Trump supporters played rock music and drank beer while discussing election results. However, in Los Angeles, a group of white Trump supporters physically assaulted and took the wig off a black woman. A white lady was seen holding the wig and screaming “Fuck Black Lives Matter”.
Many right-wing extremists and Neo-Nazis have had discussions regarding the potential dates on which armed protests can be organized. Researchers monitoring the activities of extremist groups said that there have been several proposals ranging from attacks of the capitol to armed rallies in Washington and other states.
What fomented the incident?
With the nation still staggering from the vandalism in the capitol, a series of pivotal questions arise about how such a gargantuan security breach took place in the heart of the United States and its government. President-elect Joe Biden has been completely devastated by the ‘intolerable and unsatisfactory’ handling of the violent bunch of rioters and also compared the police's response to the harsh militarized response to the peaceful BLM protests.
Republican Senator Lindsey Grahan also fulminated against the massive security failures. He said, “they could have blown the entire building up and killed us all.” A lot of criticism centered around police preparation and their utmost failure to anticipate violence and ruckus in spite of having multiple evidence to prove that Trump supporters were in fact openly organizing and discussing these protests online.
In the eyes of the state: Why does white rioting not qualify as rioting?
Hours after the incident took place on 6th January, rioters were filmed while taken out of the building. The police did not make arrests and instead escorted them down the stairs to the exit area. Another video clip on the internet showed a policeman posing for a photograph with one of the protesters. Many protesters were seen filming videos and taking pictures of the heinous event. In one of the videos, a man was seen with a Confederate flag, wearing fur, horns, and face paint, posing alongside the Senate chair.
Nick Ochs, a member of a far-right group named Proud Boys, later posted his selfie on Twitter inside and told CNN that there were a huge number of people protesting and the police had absolutely no control over the situation. He also said he did not get stopped or interrogated even once.
On the other hand, supporters of Black Lives Matter have voiced their concerns about the double-standards of the police. Kamala Harris, the upcoming vice-president said the particular event and police handling of the entire episode was “unacceptable”.
Michelle Obama, Former First Lady, in a statement said “I cannot think about moving on or turning the page until we reckon with the reality of what we saw yesterday. True progress will be possible only once we acknowledge that this disconnect exists and take steps to repair it."
Top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer expressed their guilt over the security failure and were forced to remove some of the top officials. Steven Sund, chief of the US capitol police, in a statement released on Thursday, defended his force by describing their actions and “heroic” and their plan as “robust” but within a couple of hours he was made to resign.
Several world leaders also condemned what happened in Washington. Many of them called for the transition of power and peace after the ‘horrific’ incident took place and called it an ‘attack on democracy. Boris Johnson, UK’s Prime Minister was saddened by the ‘distressing scenes’. He wrote on Twitter, “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.”
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said that people who stormed into the buildings were “rioters and attackers”. She further said, “I regret very much that President Trump has still not admitted defeat, but has kept raising doubts about the elections.”
Since then, there have been several calls made for Trump’s resignation or impeachment by many Republicans and Democrats. Trump has not made any public statements since the time he was banned from Twitter and other social media sites.
-Srinjana Michelle Das