Congress met yesterday to affirm Joe Biden’s victory as the next President of the United States. The world watched in horror however as a historic moment for the US quickly descended into chaos, leaving four dead and Washington on lockdown.
As a result, a large mob of Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol building to disrupt both houses affirming Joe Biden’s election – the first time the US Capitol has been stormed since 1814.
The rioters were eventually removed hours later, at least 52 people were arrested and Congress affirmed Joe Biden’s victory as the next President of the United States.
But as Capitol Hill quietened and Washington went into lockdown, the world remained shocked by the turn of events and the white privilege that was on clear display.
People took to social media in their thousands to condemn the lenient handling of the violent storming of the Capitol, especially compared to the Black Lives Matter protests where peaceful protestors were attacked by federal police in the same city.
‘White privilege is on display like never before in the U.S. Capital,’ posted author Ibram X. Kendi in a viral tweet. ‘If these people were Black…well, we all know what would be happening right now to them.’
‘Black Americans are murdered for jogging in white neighbourhoods,’ tweeted author Elaine Welteroth. ‘Meanwhile white Trump supporters have just raided The White House and everyone is still standing. This is America.’
‘In America, you can be teargassed and shot with rubber bullets for peacefully protesting in front of a church,’ wrote writer Judd Legum as photographs emerged of rioters taking selfies with police officers. ‘But you can literally bust down the doors to the United States Capitol and stroll around while police officers watch.’
‘White Americans are not afraid of the cops,’ US TV host Joy-Ann Reid said of the siege live on MSNBC. ‘White Americans are never afraid of the cops. Even when they are committing insurrection.’
The storming of Capitol Building timeline:
Midday – Donald Trump told a rally of his supporters that he wants VP Mike Pence (who presides over the joint session of congress) to do ‘the right thing’ and reject the electoral results.
‘Mike Pence, I hope you’re gonna stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you, I will tell you right now.’
1pm – Pro Trump protestors gathered around the Capitol Building’s perimeter and stormed past riot police.
2.20pm – The House and Senate were suspended.
2.24pm – Donald Trump tweeted an update to his supporters:
‘Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!’
2.30pm – The doors to the House and the Senate were barricaded and staff on the floor evacuated, while those in the upper gallery sheltered under chairs. An armed standoff took place at the front door of the House Chamber, tear gas was fired in the rotunda and a woman was shot in the chest. The Mayor of Washington DC issued a 12-hour curfew, effective from 6pm.
3.35pm – Mike Pence tweeted an update:
‘The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now. Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement.’
4.20pm – Donald Trump posted a video message to social media, telling rioters that it’s time to ‘go home now’.
‘This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people.’
5.30pm – Rioters stormed and occupied the Capitol offices.
6pm – Police confirmed that a woman had died in the riots.
7pm – Twitter and Facebook locked Donald Trump out of social media and removed tweets that violated their policies.
8pm – The Senate reconvened.
9pm – Debate resumed.
Last night was a symbol of white privilege from start to finish and it is a serious wake up call for us all.
We cannot ignore it.