World leaders condemn violence at US Capitol

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Jan 6, 2021.
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Jan 6, 2021.PHOTO: AFP
Protestors climb the US Capitol in Washington on Jan 6, 2021.
Protestors climb the US Capitol in Washington on Jan 6, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - World leaders and governments on Wednesday (Jan 6) expressed shock and outrage at the storming of the US Capitol in Washington by supporters of US President Donald Trump.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Twitter condemned the "disgraceful scenes in US Congress. 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".

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab added in his own tweet: "The US rightly takes great pride in its democracy, and there can be no justification for these violent attempts to frustrate the lawful and proper transition of power."

The European Union's foreign policy chief condemned an "assault on US democracy".

"In the eyes of the world, American democracy tonight appears under siege," Mr Josep Borrell tweeted.

Calling the action an "assault on US democracy, its institutions and the rule of law," he added: "This is not America. The election results of 3 November must be fully respected."

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “saddened” by the events at the US Capitol, his spokesman said.

“In such circumstances, it is important that political leaders impress on their followers the need to refrain from violence, as well as to respect democratic processes and the rule of law,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

In France, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian condemned "a serious attack on democracy".

"The violence against American institutions are a serious attack on democracy. I condemn it," Mr Le Drian tweeted. "The will and the votes of the American people must be respected."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was “ furious and saddened” by the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of Mr Trump and said the president shared blame for the unrest.

“ I deeply regret that President Trump has not conceded his defeat, since November and again yesterday,” she said. “Doubts about the election outcome were stoked and created the atmosphere that made the events of last night possible.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also called on Mr Trump supporters to "stop trampling on democracy".

"Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of American voters and stop trampling on democracy," Mr Maas tweeted.

"The enemies of democracy will be pleased to see these incredible images from Washington DC," he added. "Inflammatory words turn into violent actions."

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who is also the vice-chancellor, likewise condemned the "disturbing images" from Washington.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) chief Jens Stoltenberg tweeted: "Shocking scenes in Washington, DC. The outcome of this democratic election must be respected."

In The Netherlands, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter: "Horrible images from Washington D.C. Dear @realDonaldTrump, recognise @JoeBiden as the next president today."

The plain-speaking Mr Rutte once during a visit to the White House in 2018 interrupted Mr Trump with a loud 'no' when Mr Trump made an assertion about EU-US trade.

"Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour," tweeted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

He added: "Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld - and it will be."

Irish premier Micheal Martin, who has invited the Irish-American Biden to visit his ancestral homeland early in his presidency, tweeted his condemnation.

"The Irish people have a deep connection with the United States of America, built up over many generations. I know that many, like me, will be watching the scenes unfolding in Washington DC with great concern and dismay," Mr Martin said.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney went further in directly rebuking Mr Trump.

"Shocking & deeply sad scenes in Washington DC - we must call this out for what it is: a deliberate assault on Democracy by a sitting President & his supporters, attempting to overturn a free & fair election!" he tweeted.

"The world is watching! We hope for restoration of calm."

In Greece, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a tweet that he was "extremely troubled by the violence and horrible events" that took place. " American democracy is resilient, deeply rooted and will overcome this crisis."

Turkey foreign ministry said in a statement that the country were following with concern the internal developments happening in the US.

"We call on all parties in the US to maintain restrain and prudence. We believe the US will overcome this internal political crisis in a mature manner."

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said on Twitter: "Since its independence, America, our great and true friend, has been a beacon of democracy, and stood for the values of freedom, justice and independence.”

“I am sure that the American people and their elected representatives will know how to fend off this attack and will continue to defend the values on which the United States was founded.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday that the chaos unleashed on the US Capitol exposed the fragility of Western democracy.  

“What we saw in the United States yesterday (Wednesday) evening and today shows above all how fragile and vulnerable Western democracy is,” Mr Rouhani said in a speech broadcast by state television. 

Leaders from the Pacific responded as well.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the "very distressing" scenes of violence.

Meanwhile New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tweeted, "What is happening is wrong. Democracy - the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob."

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "distressed to see news about rioting and violence". 

"Orderly and peaceful transfer of power must continue. The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests," he tweeted.

In Japan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said it hoped for a "peaceful transfer of power" in the US