23rd Apr 2021

US riot: How did EU's pro-Trump right react?

  • The violent riot, in which at least four people died, was seen worldwide as an 'assault on American democracy' (Photo: Blink O'fanaye)

The European far-right leaders who back outgoing US president Donald Trump have condemned the violent mob of his supporters who stormed the Capitol building in Washington - but fallen short on pinning blame on the man who incited the rioters.

Thousands of protesters on Wednesday (6 January) stormed the iconic building shortly after being addressed by Trump outside the White House - where he refused to admit defeat to president-elect Joe Biden, and again claimed November's elections had been a fraud.

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The violent riots, in which at least four people died, have been seen worldwide as an direct and physical "assault on American democracy".

Trump's European cheerleaders, such as German AfD's Tino Chrupalla, far-right Dutch leader Geert Wilders or Italy's populist figure Matteo Salvini, have condemned the protesters' actions.

However, they fall short of pointing the finger at Trump - whose recent public and social media statements have been stained with incitement and calls for violence, fuelled with baseless disinformation.

Meanwhile, other European allies of Trump, such as the populist Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban or Flemish nationalist Tom van Grieken, avoided making any statement.

Anti-EU Marine Le Pen of France's National Rally, who described Trump's victory in 2016 as "an additional stone in the building of a new world," said Trump "must condemn what happened" - while also raising questions about social media censorship.

"I consider that in a democracy, we have the right to protest and demonstrate, but peacefully. Any act of violence that aims to undermine the democratic process is unacceptable," she added.

UK Brexit party leader Nigel Farage, who boasts of his close friendship with Trump, issued a Twitter statement restricted to the bare minimum, saying only "storming Capitol Hill is wrong" and protesters should leave.

For his part, the Czech Republic prime minister Andrej Babis, often likened to the outgoing US president because of his views on immigration and business background, also said that "what happened in [the] US is unacceptable and [an] unprecedented attack on democracy".

"Four lives were needlessly lost and the core democratic process has been disrupted. [The] transition of power needs to be smooth and peaceful," he said.

The so-called "Trump of Spain", far-right Vox party leader Santiago Abascal, compared the Washington events to his own country, accusing the Spanish vice-president of calling protesters to storm the Spanish congress in the past, and the Catalan government of assaulting the Catalan parliament.

Nevertheless, he also called for the order to be restored, warning that "western democracies have to show their strength against the revolutionary processes that the elites have stupidly promoted".

Slovenia's nationalist prime minister Janez Jansa, who said last year that it was "pretty clear" Trump has won the 2020 elections before the official results were made public, condemned the ugly scenes and violence in Washington but suggested an equivalence with leftwing protests.

"We hope American democracy is resilient, deeply rooted and will overcome this crisis. Democracy presupposes peaceful protest, but violence and death threats - from left or right - are always wrong," he said on Twitter.

Hungarian media

Meanwhile, the pro-Hungarian government's outlets falsely accused the US Democratic party of organising the riots, saying that "after the scandalous November election, Joe Biden's presidency brought total chaos".

The former head of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said it was a wake-up call to Europe: "There are Trumps everywhere, so each and everyone should defend their Capitol".

After US Congress officially declared Biden's victory on Thursday, president Trump said in a statement that "there will be an orderly transition" of power on 20 January.


European democrats, time to wake up

After the mob attack on Washington's Capitol Hill, we have to ask ourselves if it would be possible to see such a march on Brussels? The answer is: Yes. Europe is dealing with the same dark forces.


What does Trump's 'coup' mean for Europe?

If Trump is still alive, healthy, free and tweeting politics by 2023, I think we all can officially start to worry. Not only for the American democracy, but for democracies in Europe and the rest of the world.


Citizen deliberation in light of an insurrection

Can the EU do more to hold back the kinds of malign forces that overran the US Capitol? It's not an idle question. Democratic shortcomings in the EU are regularly invoked by the far-right to whip up nationalist sentiment.

EU condemns US execution of Lisa Montgomery

The US executed 52-year old Lisa Montgomery, a death row inmate, on Wednesday. Montgomery had committed a gruesome murder but she was also mentally ill. The EU is now demanding the US reverse all pending federal-level executions

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