Phillip van Niekerk in Washington DC
In scenes more like coups in Haiti or Kinshasa, supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, the seat of government, on Wednesday.
Police officers were initially outnumbered as thousands of protestors smashed into the government buildings.
A call has gone out from politicians of all parties to immediately remove Trump from office for inciting protestors to violently overturn the election he lost in November.
As legislators huddled under their desks, the protestors occupied the chambers and offices of Congress, going through people’s desks. A number of police and bystanders were injured in the mayhem. At least one person was reported killed.
The protestors disrupted the formal certification of the November 3rd election that was underway to declare the Democratic Party’s Joe Biden President of the United States. It was being presided over by Trump’s own Vice President, Mike Pence, who had to be whisked out to safety by the secret service.
The protestors broke through the cordon of police shortly after a speech by Mitch McConnell, the leader of Trump’s Republican Party in the Senate, who spoke out against an attempt by pro-Trump legislators to overturn the election – an action that would amount to a coup.
McConnell warned that if they did this “our democracy would enter a death spiral”.
Apart from a number of Democrats, some conservative Republicans including Norman Podhoretz and Jonah Goldberg also called for Trump to be removed from office.
Trump has been attempting to overturn the election by falsely and repeatedly claiming the election was rigged based on conspiracy theories. He has launched 40 losing lawsuits and multiple attempts to pressure the officials into overturning the results.
Running out of legal options, and with two weeks before he is required to step down for Joe Biden, the man who beat him in the election, Trump resorted to using his fanatical supporters like a battering ram against the political system.
“Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election,” he tweeted, urging his supporters to turn up. “Big protest in D.C. Be there, will be wild!”
The rowdy events came hours after Biden’s Democratic Party captured the majority in the Senate, the upper house of the American Congress, by winning two special elections for seats in Georgia, formerly one of the most racist states of the old deep South.
One of the two new Senators is the Reverend Raphael Warnock, the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, formerly the church of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior.