‘Anarchy in the USA’: Global media reacts to U.S. Capitol chaos

FAN Editor

Newspaper front pages show Wednesday’s storming by supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump of the U.S. Capitol on January 7, 2021 in Berlin, Germany.

Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Global media have been reacting to the unprecedented scenes from Washington, where pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, prompting a lockdown and causing lawmakers to flee to safety.

Scenes of the angry mob gathering on the steps of the Capitol before pouring into the building and overpowering security guards have been splashed across news websites and papers around the world. They also feature images of protesters sweeping through the halls of Congress, sitting at lawmakers’ desks and posing for photos, draped in pro-Trump flags and merchandise.

‘Anarchy in the USA’

One British newspaper described the events as “Anarchy in the USA.” The headline on the left-leaning British “i” newspaper was sub-headed: “Trump incites thousands of protestors to storm the Capitol, saying ‘We will never concede.'” Meanwhile, the right-leaning The Times newspaper had the headline “U.S. Capitol under siege” as it detailed the chaotic scenes.

Both outlets, and other British newspapers, featured the arresting photograph of armed police barricading the door to the chamber of the House of Representatives.

The condemnation of Trump’s supporters’ behavior was across the board, with papers on both sides of the political spectrum criticizing the “mob,” and also outgoing President Donald Trump who had earlier urged his supporters to march on the Capitol and had repeated his unfounded claims that the election was lost due to voter fraud.

Other news networks and news sites, including Sky News, led their coverage summarizing the loss of life and arrests made overnight. Sky’s headline stating: “Riot at US Capitol: Four dead as outrage grows over Trump-inspired mob’s storming of Congress” detailing that 52 arrests had been made.

‘Republicans in shock’

In France, newspapers also led with coverage of the protests. Le Monde led with the police regaining full control of the Capitol building, noting that “security was no longer threatened.” Le Figaro’s live blog on the front page of its website led with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s comments that “Congress will not be intimidated.”

Papers in Europe also reflected on growing weariness and concern among Republican lawmakers at Trump’s refusal to condemn the actions of his supporters. Le Monde noted that “‘Enough is enough’: After the invasion of the Capitol, Republicans close to Trump are turning their backs on him” and center-right German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung headlined its coverage with the headline “Republicans in shock” and with the lead noting that “for many Republicans, the moment seems to have come when they no longer want to defend Donald Trump.” 

An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021.

Leah Millis | Reutes

America’s enemies?

Global leaders were quick to deplore the chaotic scenes in Washington with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling the protest “disgraceful” and French President Emmanuel Macron tweeting a more defiant “We believe in democracy.”

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted that “the enemies of democracy will be happy to see these incredible pictures from #WashingtonDC” and that “the disdain for democratic institutions is devastating.”

The pictures of disorder in the U.S. have certainly not been lost on countries like Russia and China, which have tense relationships with the U.S.

Most Russian news outlets led jointly with Christmas messages (Thursday is Christmas Day for Orthodox Christians) and mass coverage of the “political crisis in the United States,” as one tabloid, Komsomolskaya Pravda, put it.

Russia’s government-owned daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta led its online rolling coverage on the “chaos” in Washington next to comment from Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of Russia’s Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, who said that the events “showed that American democracy was limping on both legs and the United States lost the right to impose a course on other countries.”

Equipment of media crews damaged during clashes after the US President Donald Trumps supporters breached the US Capitol security in Washington D.C., United States on January 06, 2021.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Meanwhile, pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia led its coverage with the headline: “Once upon a time in America: how Donald Trump drove the crowd to frenzy” and with the lead stating that “Party members began to turn away from the current president amid the outbreak of violence in Washington.”

In Asia, China’s “People’s Daily” — an official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party — carried very little coverage on its website’s homepage, but “The Global Times,” a daily that operates under the auspices of the People’s Daily,” headlined its website with the story: “Chinese netizens jeer riot in U.S. Capitol as ‘Karma,’ say bubbles of ‘democracy and freedom’ have burst.”

In the story, staff reporters said “words like ‘Karma,’ ‘retribution’ and ‘deserving’ were frequently mentioned in Chinese netizens’ comments when they saw the latest episode of the U.S.’ real version of House of Cards.”

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