The Guardian

‘Trump blows up US democracy’: the world watches on in horror

Leaders from nations around the world condemn ‘shocking scenes’ unfolding at US Capitol * Pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol – follow liveLeaders across the world have reacted with shock and disquiet to the turmoil in Washington DC on Wednesday, with the head of Nato deploring what he called “shocking scenes”.“The outcome of this democratic election must be respected,” Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general and former Norwegian prime minister, tweeted on Wednesday evening after US president-elect Joe Biden condemned “this godawful display” and warned: “The world is watching.”The Irish taoiseach, Micheál Martin, tweeted: “The Irish people have a deep connection with the United States of America, built up over many generations. I know that many, like me, will be watching the scenes unfolding in Washington DC with great concern and dismay.”Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, tweeted, “Inflammatory words turn into violent acts – on the steps of the Reichstag, and now in the Capitol.” He urged Trump and his supporters to “finally accept the decision of the American voters and stop trampling democracy”.French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Twitter: “The violence against the American institutions is a grave attack on democracy. I condemn it. The will and the vote of the American people must be respected.”In Britain, prime minister Boris Johnson condemned what he called the “disgraceful scenes in 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,” he added.The 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.”Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon called the scenes “utterly horrifying” and an “attack on democracy”.Charles Michel, the president of the European council, tweeted: “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.”Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez tweeted: “I am following the news from the Capitol in Washington with concern. I trust in the strength of US democracy. The new presidency of Joe Biden will overcome the time of tension, uniting the US people.Poland’s former foreign minister Radek Sikorski, who chairs the EU-USA delegation to the EU parliament, tweeted, “The US Cabinet should immediately, under the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, declare @realDonaldTrump insane and terminate his presidency.”The dismay reached the other side of the globe. Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison described the scenes as “very distressing”. “We condemn these acts of violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of government to the newly elected administration in the great American democratic tradition,” Morrison added.New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern wrote, “Democracy – the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob. Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail.”Closer to the US, Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau told the Vancouver radio station News 1130: “Obviously, we’re concerned and we’re following the situation minute by minute. I think the American democratic institutions are strong, and hopefully everything will return to normal shortly.”The president of Colombia, Iván Duque, tweeted: “We reject the acts of violence seen today during the Electoral College vote counting in the United States Congress and I express my solidarity and support to the honorable members of Congress and to all US institutions.” ‘A day that will go down in history’Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy seemed to revel in the unrest in Washington. He posted: “Quite Maidan-style pictures are coming from DC,” on Twitter, referring to protests in Ukraine that toppled Russian-backed President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich in 2014. “Some of my friends ask whether someone will distribute crackers to the protesters to echo Victoria Nuland stunt,” he said, citing a 2013 visit to Ukraine when then-US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland offered food to protesters.In a statement, Turkey’s foreign ministry described events in Washington as “worrying”. “We are following with concern the internal developments happening in the US following the presidential elections which culminated in the Capitol Hill building being breached by protesters today,” it said, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.The Organization of American States (OAS) said it condemned and repudiated the attack “by protesters who disavow recent electoral results”.“Democracy has as its fundamental pillar the independence of the powers of the state, which must act completely free of pressure,” it added in a statement. “​The exercise of force and vandalism against the institutions constitutes a serious attack against democratic functioning.”In Latin America, a region with a long and bloody history of US-backed coups, many were quick to describe Wednesday’s upheaval in similar terms. “This is an attempted coup … a clear and absolutely shameful attack on democracy,” said a commentator on Brazil’s GloboNews network.Argentine President Alberto Fernandez tweeted: “We express our condemnation of the serious acts of violence and the affront to Congress that occurred today in Washington DC. We trust that there will be a peaceful transition that respects the popular will and we express our strongest support for President-elect Joe Biden.”Venezuela’s authoritarian government – which Trump has spent the last two years unsuccessfully trying to topple – struggled to conceal its glee at the unrest playing out to the north.“With this pitiful episode, the US is suffering exactly what it has caused in other countries with its aggressive policies,” Venezuela’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “Venezuela hopes these violent events will soon cease and that the US people will finally be able to find a new path towards stability and social justice.”In a tweet shared by Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, its attorney general, Tarek William Saab, called the bedlam “an attempted coup d’etat against president-elect Biden”.Eliane Cantanhêde, a prominent political commentator in Brazil, tweeted: “Trump blows up American democracy. A day that will go down in history. A president to be thrown in the dustbin of history.”Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama, who instigated a coup in his own country in 2006, “an affront to democracies around the globe,” and expressed his confidence that “the USA will soon close this ugly chapter once and for all.”Not everyone condemned the actions of the mob.Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, an ally of Trump’s, reiterated baseless allegations of US election fraud. Asked by a supporter for his views on the chaotic scenes in Washington, Bolsonaro said: “I followed everything today. You know I’m connected to Trump, right? So you already know my answer.” “There were lot of reports of fraud, a lot of reports of fraud,” he added, in a video posted on social media, without providing evidence.But the head of Brazil’s lower house, Rodrigo Maia, said he feared “the terrible episode” playing out in the US might offer a glimpse of what could happen in Brazil were Bolsonaro to fail in his bid for re-election in 2022.