Four people died on the US Capitol grounds Wednesday and 52 people have been arrested, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J. Contee said Wednesday evening, after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an unprecedented effort to stop Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among numerous world leaders to weigh-in on the events of the past few hours in Washington, as he condemned the “disgraceful scenes” on Capitol Hill.
Hours after an extraordinary rally by Trump challenging his defeat, flag-waving backers broke down barricades outside the Capitol and swarmed inside, with the special session going into an emergency recess as protesters entered the chambers.
The desperate last-minute bid by Trump to overturn his election loss sparked chaos and accusations of a “coup” attempt, with several countries calling on Trump’s supporters to show calm and restraint.
“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,” Johnson said on Twitter.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was “saddened” by the breach of the US Capitol building, according to his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
“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,” Dujarric said in a statement.
The president of the General Assembly Volkan Bozkir, meanwhile, said he was “deeply concerned” by the violence and the interruption of the democratic process in the US, where the UN headquarters is located.
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the events in Washington were a source of regret and that New Zealand looked forward to the peaceful transition of power.
“Violence has no place in thwarting democracy,” she wrote on Twitter. “We look forward to the peaceful transition of the political administration, which is the hallmark of democracy.” Mahuta ended her post with a Maori blessing.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned what he described as “very distressing scenes” in the US Congress, and said Australia looked forward to the peaceful transfer of power to the newly-elected administration.
It was, he said on Twitter, a “great American democratic tradition”.
In a video posted to Twitter, French President Emmanuel Macron described the attack on Congress as “not America” and said he had “confidence in the strength of democracy in the United States.”
Earlier, 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.”
Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said he was shocked at events in Washington, describing the US Congress as a “temple of democracy” and urging the peaceful transfer of power.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed the “strength of US institutions and democracy” and said she was looking forward to working with Joe Biden as the next president.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted: “Venezuela expresses its concern for the violent events that are taking place in the city of Washington, USA; condemns the political polarization and hopes that the American people will open a new path toward stability and social justice.”
Turkey’s foreign ministry called on all parties in the United States to use restraint and calm.
“Turkey is monitoring worrying developments in the US, including attempts to storm the Capitol building,” the ministry said in a statement. “We believe that the US will overcome this domestic crisis calmly.”
The statement also called on Turkish citizens in the US to stay away from crowded places and where demonstrations were being held.
Turkey’s Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop said on Twitter: “We follow the events in the USA with concern and invite the parties to calmness. We believe that problems will always be solved within law and democracy.”
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg called for respect of the outcome of the election held in November last year.
“Shocking scenes in Washington, DC,” Stoltenberg tweeted. “The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said democracy’s enemies would be cheered by scenes of violence at the US Capitol, and he called on Trump to accept US voters’ decision.
In a tweet posted after protesters stormed the seat of the US legislature, Maas said the violence had been caused by inflammatory rhetoric.
“The enemies of democracy will be delighted at these terrible images from Washington DC,” he wrote on Wednesday. “Trump and his supporters must accept the decision of American voters at last and stop trampling on democracy.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed concern about the violent scenes, saying Canada was “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,” Trudeau told the News 1130 Vancouver radio station.
In a tweet posted on the official @CanadianPM Twitter account, Trudeau said Canadians were “deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people.”