Politics

'Disgraceful': World leaders react to pro-Trump riots rocking Washington

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Key Points
  • The scenes of crowds storming into the U.S. Capitol shocked foreign powers around the world.
  • Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson described the unfolding protest in Washington as "disgraceful."
  • Other world leaders expressed regret and dismay.
A man calls on people to raid the building as Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they try to storm the Capital Building in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.
Joseph Prezioso | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – Foreign leaders and diplomats issued unusually stark statements condemning the pro-Trump riots that broke out in Washington and forced the U.S. Congress to recess from the joint session that was scheduled to formally announce President-elect Joe Biden's victory in November's election.

President Donald Trump, during a rally earlier outside the White House, had encouraged thousands of his supporters to march to the Capitol and protest the proceedings there. Trump returned to the White House after his speech and later told supporters in a tweeted video "you have to go home now."

"This was a fraudulent election ... but you have to go home," Trump said, telling protesters "We love you. You are very special," before signing off.

In a series of tweets Wednesday evening, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the storming of the U.S. Capitol "unacceptable."

"Lawlessness and rioting -- here or around the world -- is always unacceptable," the nation's top diplomat wrote.

"Let us swiftly bring justice to the criminals who engaged in this rioting," Pompeo wrote, adding "America is better than what we saw today."

The scenes of crowds storming into the U.S. Capitol shocked foreign powers around the world.

An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021.
Leah Millis | Reutes

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson described the unfolding protest in Washington as "disgraceful."

"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," Johnson wrote in a tweet.

"The world is watching! We hope for restoration of calm," wrote Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney. He added that the images pouring out of Washington were "shocking" and that the events were "a deliberate assault on democracy."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also expressed concern about the violent scenes and said he was following the situation "minute by minute."

"I think the American democratic institutions are strong, and hopefully everything will return to normal shortly," Trudeau told the News 1130 Vancouver radio station.

In a recorded statement, French President Emmanuel Macron said "what happened today in Washington, D.C., is not America, definitely."

"We believe in the strength of American democracy," he added.

"The violent acts against American institutions are a grave attack against democracy," wrote Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

"The American people's will and vote must be respected," he added.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the "orderly and peaceful transfer of power."

"The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests," he wrote.

Volkan Bozkir, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, wrote that he was hopeful "democratic processes will prevail."

"I'm saddened & concerned by today's developments at the Capitol in #WashingtonDC. The US is one of the world's major democracies," he added.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez wrote that he was following the updates from Washington and that he was hopeful a Biden administration would be able to unite Americans.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in a tweet described the events as "an assault on democracy."

"President Trump and several members of Congress bear substantial responsibility for developments. The democratic election process must be respected," he added.

Similarly, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg wrote that Trump was responsible for stopping the violence in Washington.

"Scary pictures, and amazing that this is the United States," Solberg added.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the violence "shocking" and urged Americans to respect the outcome of the November election, a call echoed by European Parliament President David Sassoli.

Sassoli, who oversees the lawmaking party of the European Union, wrote that the scenes from the U.S. Capitol were "deeply concerning."

"Democratic votes must be respected. We are certain the U.S. will ensure that the rules of democracy are protected," added Sassoli.

Joseph Borrell Fontelles, the European Union's High Representative of the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, wrote in a pair of tweets that "American democracy tonight appears under siege."

"This is an unseen assault on U.S. democracy, its institutions and the rule of law. This is not America," he added.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, also wrote on Twitter, "I believe in the strength of US institutions and democracy. Peaceful transition of power is at the core. Joe Biden won the election."

"I look forward to working with him as the next President of the USA," she added.

"The US Congress is a temple of democracy," wrote President of the European Council Charles Michel in a tweet. "To witness tonight's scenes in #WashingtonDC is a shock," he added.

World leaders, like the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, called on Trump to recognize the incoming Biden administration in order to help quell protests.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry issued a statement warning Turkish citizens in the United States to be wary of further violence.

"We believe that the U.S. will overcome this internal political crisis in a mature matter. We advise Turkish citizens in the U.S. to avoid crowded areas and places where protests are taking place," the statement said.

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