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In a shocking display of impunity, thousands of supporters of outgoing US President Donald Trump first gathered outside, and then forcibly entered the US Capitol building in Washington, DC. The bizarre incident, that has all the markings of a virtual coup, took place when the Congress was holding a joint session of both Houses to count Electoral College votes as part of the final leg of the process to confirm President-elect Joe Biden, and make way for his inauguration.
Protesters clashed with the riot police deployed at the Capitol, who in turn used tear-gas shells to control the rampaging mob. Congress had to suspend activity as members were forced to vacate in face of the violent assault on the Capitol building. The National Guard had to be called in and a curfew was imposed in Washington, DC.
But instead of reprimanding his supporters or condemning their actions, Trump addressed them as “very special”. In a televised address that has since then been taken down from platforms like Twitter due to fears that it incites violence, Trump told his supporters, “I know you are pained. I know you are hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.”
In complete contrast, Joe Biden addressed the nation reminding Trump, “The words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad that President may be. At their best they inspire, at their worst, they incite.”
The incident attracted condemnation from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who tweeted saying, “Disgraceful scenes in U.S. 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.”
Trump has been repeatedly making allegations of electoral fraud and was recently found to have pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find votes” in his favour, as revealed in an expose by the Washington Post that released the full hour-long audio of his phone call.