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As America struggles to comprehend the chaos that took hold in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, the world’s media reacted with horror as pictures and footage of a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol building went global.
The front pages of the world’s leading newspapers were splashed with the riots that hit the Capitol, with many posting live blogs, as well as rushing out hard-hitting analysis and commentary pieces trying to make sense of the violence coming from the epicenter of American democracy. All were quick to condemn the events with the consensus of who was to blame for what happened landing squarely on President Donald Trump.
With the U.K.’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson describing events in Washington D.C. as “disgraceful,” British newspapers were numbed by shock. “Anarchy in the U.S.A” screamed the same headline in London’s Metro, the i newspaper and The Daily Express. The Daily Telegraph and The Times both went with “Democracy Under Siege.” “On Wednesday, a coup attempt was led by the president of the United States,” was the opening sentence in a widely read opinion piece in The Guardian.
A commentary piece in Germany’s leading news magazine Der Spiegel said: “The attempted coup by the losers is the seemingly grotesque, but harrowing finale of a four-year, autocratic feverish dream, whose sinister director was Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed ‘Law and Order’ president, assisted by the increasingly radicalized Republican Party and right-wing extremist propaganda media.”
In Italy, a front-page piece in the La Repubblica newspaper evoked Benito Mussolini’s fascist March on Rome in 1922. “America, the whole of America, lived with horror on live television the equivalent of a March on Rome in Washington, the invasion of the Capitol, the attack on the very sanctity of its democracy,” the piece said.
“Sedition. Insurrection. Rebellion. Martial law. No, it is not the editorial writers of El Nacional, Caracas, who share their concerns about the current situation in Venezuela, but the domestic policy columnists of the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. And it is indeed American democracy that we are talking about,” said a piece in France’s biggest newspaper Le Monde.
Australia was waking up to images of violence from the Capitol, with the Sydney Morning Herald writing, “January 6, 2021, will now live in infamy as one of the most shameful days in American history. Trump and his enablers played with fire and American democracy got burnt.”
Spain’s El Pais focused on what the riot meant for democracy in America and the image of the country abroad. “The session was suspended, the city decreed a curfew, the National Guard was deployed, and the world saw an unprecedented image of the United States, the country that prides itself on being the world’s first democracy,” the newspaper said.
Japanese newspaper Tokyo Shimbun was blunt in its assessment of the causes of the riot, writing, “The world was shocked by the turmoil caused by Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theories.”
Sweden’s Aftonbladet was also clear on who was to blame and damage to the U.S.’s global image. “Trump has inflicted enormous damage to American democracy and the United States. Something he must reasonably be held responsible for. The question is how much more misery he should be allowed to cause before he is forced to leave the White House in two weeks,” said an analysis piece in the newspaper.
In Brazil, the leading national newspaper O Globo wrote, “With that Trump loses everything and will be seen as the worst president of the United States. He wanted to be recognized as a president at the level of Ronald Reagan, who has profoundly changed the country, but after today he is lost.”
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