BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson has broken ranks with his key ally President Donald Trump and condemned the invasion of the US Congress by his supporters describing the action as a disgraceful attack on democracy.
This afternoon at 1pm, the US Congress was meeting to formalise the election of president-elect Joe Biden, which is a routine ritual in the democratic process. President Trump had asked his vice president Mike Pence, who presides over the senate to derail the process but he lacks the constitutional power to do so and the debate was proceeding as usual.
Faced with certain defeat, President Trump’s supporters invaded Congress, forcing members of both the House of Representatives and the senate to be evacuated. Rather surprisingly, there were few security operatives around as a request by the mayor of Washington DC for the National Guard to be deployed was declined.
Flag-waving Trump supporters climbed into the Congress building, took over the chambers of both houses, invaded the office of speaker Nancy Pelosi and vowed not to leave. President-elect Biden described the development as an assault on US democracy and Prime Minister Johnson has joined in the condemnation too.
Prime Minister Johnson tweeted: “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.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer added: “Horrendous scenes from the US. These are not protestors, this a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the scenes as utterly horrifying. She added: ” Shame on those who have incited this attack on democracy.”
These protests, encouraged by President Trump, resulted in one woman being shot, who is said to be in a critical condition. President Trump has riled up his supporters ahead of the confirmation of Mr Biden’s election win by falsely claiming widespread voter fraud to explain his loss.
Mr Biden described the rioters as extremists and called on President Trump to step up and give a national televised address to demand an end to this siege. The mayor of Washington DC has ordered a curfew in the capital from at 6pm in a bid to control the riots.
Members of Congress inside the chamber were told by police to put on gas masks after tear gas was dispersed to try and push back rioters. It is expected that security operatives will storm the building later tonight.
Mr Biden had said: “Let me be very clear, the scenes of the Capitol do not represent a true America, do not represent who we are, what we are seeing is a small number of extremists. The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad that president is.
“At best the worlds of a president can inspire, at the worst, they can incite. Therefore I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfil his oath and defend the const and demand an end to this siege.”
Speaking to supporters near the White House earlier today, President Trump repeated baseless claims of election fraud and pledged to never concede. Mr Biden won the electoral college vote by 306 to 232 and in an additional icing on the cake, his Democratic Party won two senate seats in Georgia yesterday, giving it a 51:50 majority.