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US: Leaders of US allies voice shock, concern over attack on US Capitol

7th Jan 2021
US: Leaders of US allies voice shock, concern over attack on US Capitol

By Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak, Dilan Pamuk, and Iclal Turan

ANKARA (AA): Leaders of US allies throughout Europe and the EU and NATO blocs reacted with shock and dismay to news of a mob storming the US Capitol, with supporters of US President Donald Trump protesting congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

“Shocking scenes in Washington, D.C. The outcome of this democratic election must be respected,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Twitter.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the events “disgraceful” and said the US “stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”

Criticized for a belated reaction, after midnight local time French President Emmanuel Macron posted a video on Twitter, describing the scene of violence in Washington DC as “not American.”

“We believe in the strength of our democracies. We believe in the strength of American democracy,” he added.

“I am following with concern the news that are coming from Capitol Hill in Washington. I trust in the strength of America’s democracy,” said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. “The new Presidency of Joe Biden will overcome this time of tension, uniting the American people.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter: “Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of the American voters and stop trampling democracy.”

Drawing on the German history of mob violence in the 1930s, he added: “Enemies of democracy will be happy to see these inconceivable images in Washington DC. Incendiary words become violent acts — on the steps of the Reichstag, and now in the Capitol. Contempt of democratic institutions has devastating ramifications.”

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he was “shocked” by scenes from the US and said “this is an unacceptable assault on democracy. A peaceful and orderly transfer of power must be ensured.”

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said on social media that he is following “with deep concern the populist prodded, anti-democracy attack on the Capitol in Washington, the heart of US democracy.”

“The respect for the results of free elections and the peaceful transfer of government power is the foundation of democracy. I am convinced the US will protect these democratic rules even if the current president hesitates,” he added.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “sadness” when supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building.

“The Secretary-General is saddened by the events at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Wednesday,” said the spokesperson of the UN Chief, Stephane Dujarric, in a statement on Wednesday.

“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,” the spokesperson stated.

[US President Donald Trump’s supporters gather outside the Capitol building in Washington D.C., United States on January 06, 2021. Pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol as lawmakers were set to sign off Wednesday on President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory in what was supposed to be a routine process headed to Inauguration Day. ( Tayfun Coşkun – Anadolu Agency )]

‘Attack on freedoms of US people’

Mark Rutte, the Dutch premier, urged Trump to “recognize Joe Biden as the next president today” after weeks of refusing to do so.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he is also following the events in the US with great concern.

“Violence is incompatible with the exercise of political rights and democratic freedoms. I trust in the solidity and strength of the institutions of the United States,” he said.

Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s foreign minister, called the developments in Washington “a real disgrace to democracy, an attack on the freedoms of the American people.”

“We strongly condemn all forms of violence, in the hope that there will be an orderly and peaceful transfer of power as soon as possible,” he said.

“Extremely troubled by the violence and horrible events taking place in Washington D.C. American democracy is resilient, deeply rooted and will overcome this crisis,” said Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Twitter.

Charles Michel, head of the EU Council, said; “The US Congress is a temple of democracy. To witness tonight’s scenes in Washington DC is a shock. We trust the US to ensure a peaceful transfer of power to Joe Biden.”

– ‘Democracy under siege’

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also urged respect for the outcome of last November’s US elections.

“In the eyes of the world, American democracy tonight appears under siege. This is an unseen assault on US democracy, its institutions and the rule of law. This is not America. The election results of 3 November must be fully respected,” he said.

“I commend the words of President-elect Joe Biden. The strength of US democracy will prevail over extremist individuals.”

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said on Twitter: “I believe in the strength of US institutions and democracy. Peaceful transition of power is at the core.”

She added: “Joe Biden won the election. I look forward to working with him as the next President of the USA.”

“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,” said British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

‘Democratic process must be respected’

On social media, Stefan Lofven, Sweden’s prime minister, called the developments “an attack on democracy.”

“President Trump and many members of Congress have a great responsibility for what is happening now. The democratic process of electing a president must be respected,” he said.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde also expressed concern, saying: “The democratic process must be respected and order peacefully restored. US democracy is strong. President Trump has the responsibility to stand up for the democratic process.”

Norwegian Foreign Minister Eriksen Soreide called the events “disturbing, alarming, and an unacceptable attack on democracy” and said Trump has the “responsibility to ensure that the situation comes under control.”

“The Congress must be able to fulfill its mandate in accordance with the constitution. It is at the very core of a democratic society that the losing party acknowledges the defeat,” she added.

“Very worrying scenes from Washington DC, I am confident that democratic institutions and principles of the rule of law will prevail,” said Edagars Rinkevics, Latvia’s foreign minister.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian condemned the riots and said the will and vote of the American people must be respected.

“Violence against American institutions is a serious attack on democracy,” he added.

‘Horrifying pictures’

Danish Foreign Minister Mette Frederiksen said on social media: “Extremism, violence, polarization and chaos are never the way forward. Horrifying pictures from Washington. May democracy be made to work again.”

“Democracy rests on a peaceful transfer of power: when you lose you must accept defeat,” said Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez, voicing his “full trust in President elect” Biden.

On Wednesday, scenes of thousands of President Donald Trump’s supporters clashing with police outside of the Capitol building gave way to even more chaos as protesters overwhelmed law enforcement, breached the Capitol’s doors and windows, and eventually made their way to the Senate floor.

Photos on social media showed security guards drawing pistols as rioters attempted to breach the House chamber, where vote counting was to take place.

In the violence, one woman was shot by Capitol Police and later died, Chief Robert J. Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department told reporters. The shooting is being investigated.

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