Western democracies stunned by images from Washington

Western democracies stunned by images from Washington

Democracies around the world expressed horror at images of a mob storming the US Capitol to stop the confirmation of Joe Biden as the next US president. 

British prime minister Boris Johnson, leader of one the closest US allies who has on occasion been supportive of US president Donald Trump, tweeted about “disgraceful scenes” in the 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.”

UK opposition leader Keir Starmer called the events “horrendous”. “These are not ‘protesters’ — this a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people,” said the Labour party leader

UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “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.”

In Germany, foreign minister Heiko Maas said contempt for democratic institutions had devastating effects and the enemies of democracy would be “pleased by these incredible images from Washington DC”.

“From inflammatory words come violent actions — on the steps of the Reichstag and now in the Capitol. Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of American voters and stop trampling on democracy.”

Simon Coveney, Irish foreign minister, condemned what he described as “shocking” and “deeply sad” scenes. “We must call this out for what it is: a deliberate assault on democracy by a sitting president [and] his supporters, attempting to overturn a free [and] fair election!” Mr Coveney said on Twitter. “The world is watching! We hope for restoration of calm.”

Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of the 30-country Nato military alliance, which is underpinned by US power, condemned the “shocking scenes in Washington DC”.

“The outcome of this democratic election must be respected,” he tweeted.

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