The bloody chaos and lawlessness struck inside the heart of America’s democracy revealed the fragility of the world’s superpower, leaving it with a scar difficult to obliterate. But what has led the world’s largest democracy to this Capitol riot and How a presidential election turned the picture of autonomy in the country?
What happened in the Capitol on Wednesday?
Since the declaration of election results on 3rd November 2020, President Donald Trump has been claiming the election to be a rigged; which he lost by more than 7 million votes. Not far from the Capitol building, Mr Trump held a rally, urging his supporters to “walk down to the Capitol; Save America March”. During the riot, the session of congress was preparing to certify Mr Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
The mob stormed into the building, pushing the barriers, smashing through windows. The Capitol police were overwhelmed by the crowd and were unable to hold them back during the tense chaotic moments. Some even tried to breach in the House Chamber, while the security was trying to barricade them out.
Fights started in the restricted areas of the building, outnumbering the security. In the meantime, lawmakers were diving for cover, taking shelter on the floor, beneath their desks. Later they were even asked to wear a gas mask from under their seat, to protect themselves from the teas gas.
What happened in the Capitol on Wednesday, was not anything spontaneous, it has been simmering inside the false claims of election turnover by President Trump. Before the protest, he invited his supporters to Washington, asking them “you have to show strength”. After the riot, Capitol building was the heavily guarded by local police, national guard and FBI. The entire area was put in curfew to prevent any further chaos from cropping up.
Questions mounting over Capitol security failure
Since the appalling incident on Wednesday, the most obvious question is; how was the pro-Trump mob able to breach inside the Capitol; one of America’s most significant historical and political building? Why was there not enough security while the crucial certification of Joe Biden’s triumph in the presidential election?
Rehortic incitement over election’s final result was simmering amongst pro-Trump supporters on various social media platforms, weeks before the riot. President Trump and a few other Republicans have been grounding scepticism, censuring the election’s result to be manipulated.
Despite the echo of incoming violent protest, the Capitol police didn’t make any early precautious preparations, like requesting help from the National Guard or City’s police; says The Washington Post. Because of the lack of adequate security measures, dozens of officers were injured in the clash, and one later lay down is life. With dozens injured, the Capitol riot cause 5 deaths.
Despite the violence and damage, several videos released show protesters being escorted out without being arrested. Post the incident, dozens of people were taken under custody, including Adam Johnson, the one was seen who carrying Nancy Pelosi’s podium.
Lawmakers begged the President to tell his supporters to end the chaos, But the reaction came hours later. Ivanka Trump even called the protestors “American Patriots” in a tweet which Twitter deleted for safety.
Aftereffects of the Capitol riot
Along with the entire world, the US was in shock of what they witnessed in the Capitol riot. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader said, “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the whole nation accept an election again. Every four years would be a scramble for power at any cost”.
Michel Obama, the former first lady, issued a statement saying “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”. The incoming vice-president, Kamal Harris tweeted:
Facebook removed all the videos encouraging violence from the protest. And later Mark Zuckerberg announced suspension of Trump’s account indefinitely.
On the other hand, after President Trump’s tweet on the Capitol riot (in which he was praising the protesters), Twitter banned his account for 12 hours. Now Twitter has permanently suspended Mr Trump’s account for averting “further incitement of violence”. The company said that President Trump’s tweets are “highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021”.
The question is, can the Capital riot be called an attempted coup? The shocking events of 6 January was the sort of violence usually seen in young and unstable democracies.
According to Prof Stott’s statement to BBC, researcher of the psychology of a group of violence; “There was a very clear purpose to that crowd, and that was driven by the idea their actions were legitimate, given their perception that their president – as their commander in chief – had sanctioned them to go and do this”.