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‘America has turned crazy’: 7 people from around the world describe their feelings watching the US Capitol siege


JANUARY 10, 2021

Trump supporters near the US Capitol, on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • People worldwide were shocked over the violent siege of the US Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters on Wednesday.
  • Insider spoke to several people from different countries, including Russia, Hong Kong, and Germany, to find out how they perceived the events in Washington DC this week.
  • Most condemned the attack and criticized the lack of police response.
  • Some drew comparisons to their own political situations at home.

As a mob of pro-Trump protesters sieged the US Capitol on Wednesday, the world watched in shock.

Images of rioters breaking windows, ransacking government offices, and facing-off with law enforcement officials spread like wildfire on social media.

By the next morning, most international news organizations had run the story on their front page, and world leaders had mainly spoken out against President Trump and his followers’ actions.

In the aftermath of the incident, as the country is scrambling to respond to the Trump-incited attack, the rest of the world is processing the events.

“It was like watching America fall apart in front of our eyes,” Emile Stonebridge, a 53-year-old teacher from London, England, told Insider.

“I don’t follow politics very closely…but as I was watching the events on my television, I just thought: ‘America has gone crazy,'” she added.

Stonebridge is not alone. In the last few days, thousands of people worldwide -political or not – have reacted to the news out of America, mostly in disbelief.

Some have condemned the actions, while others have drawn comparisons to their own political situations at home, whether in Russia, Germany, or Hong Kong. Insider spoke to some of them.

America stands alone

Despite being America’s neighbor, Canada, has, for the most part, been trying to distance itself from the country ever since Trump was elected president four years ago, says Maggie Casey, a 24-year-old law student from Ontario.

Casey told Insider that the incident in the Capitol only made this split more palpable.

“There continues to be this distancing from America, in that I genuinely feel that people don’t know what’s going to happen in this country anymore, which is scary,” she said.

“Canada is not perfect either, but there’s a sense of wanting to distance ourselves because America seems to have lost their way,” she added.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel look at President Donald Trump during a family photo opportunity at the NATO leaders summit in Watford, Britain December 4, 2019. Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Many Western Europeans have felt similar over the years.

Emmanuel Aubert, a computer scientist from Lille, France, told Insider: “Many people here saw this coming, but to see that it actually ended up happening was still upsetting and strangely, still a surprise.”

“If there was even an ounce of respect or confidence in Trump and his party of puppy dogs, what happened in DC most likely eradicated all of it,” he added.

Ismail Aouden, a 37-old banker in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, added that Europe should “stop looking up to the US as the most democratic country of the world” and “focus more on ourselves.

“The US needs to get their act together before they can act as a teacher of the world,” he added.

Where were the police? 

Auoden also said he was “shocked” to see the lack of law enforcement present in Washington DC on Wednesday, a view shared by most of the people Insider spoke to for this article.

Iqra Colombo, a social scientist from Berlin, Germany, said that a few hours into the siege, “it seemed almost obvious that they [police] wouldn’t be as harsh towards white supremacists as they were towards BLM protestors, which was shocking.”

Colombo said she saw some parallels to law enforcement behavior in Germany.

“Just a few weeks ago similar events unfolded at the German Reichstag by right-wing anti-lockdown protestors and authorities there also seemed to barely put in the effort to disperse the crowd,” she said.

US Capitol Police hold protesters at gun-point near the House Chamber inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington DC. Andrew Harnik/AP

“In fact, if anything, it should draw attention towards the problems we have at home with our own white supremacists getting away with too much,” she added.

A student from Moscow, Russia, who spoke to Insider but did not want to be named, said that they’ve been watching the political situation in the US closely.

“It’s a good lesson for the world on what happens if you elect a populist in a democratic country and how fragile institutions can be,” the person said.

“But on the other hand, I do think it’s also quite a good demonstration for Russians that these institutions do work. And work properly, and protect democracy. Because despite all of Trump’s attempts to undermine it [the election], Biden was still elected and will become the next president, and that is due to the diversification of powers,” they continued.

“This is something Russia can only dream of,” the person added.

The country’s own leader, Vladimir Putin, has said nothing about the pro-Trump mob invading the Capitol, although a senior Russian lawmaker in Putin’s cabinet told AFP this week that American democracy is “limping on both feet,” according to the New York Post.

Supporters of President Donald Trump take over balconies and inauguration scaffolding at the United States Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Matt McClain/TWP via Getty

Meanwhile, the news in America has resonated in Hong Kong, a territory dealing with its own protests for many months now and stormed its own legislature 18 months ago to demand greater democracy and not to overthrow election results.

One pro-democracy activist, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Insider: “These scenes are not new to Hong Kongers. We’ve had a year of intense protests. But I thought Americans wouldn’t be that shocked since they just went through an entire summer of protests, many of which were way more severe in terms of intensity and violence from both sides than the Capitol siege. ”

“And I am not surprised, because if it were in Hong Kong and we believed our elections if we actually had them, were stolen, we’d do the same. We’d probably do a lot more, to be quite honest,” they added.

Courtesy/Source: Business Insider