It’s a dark day in America. A mob of Trump supporters has breached Capitol security and broken into the building to oppose the counting of electoral votes.
Crowds of people — many who were seen wearing MAGA hats and waving American and pro-Trump flags — stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, sending Congress into lockdown and causing chaos in Washington, D.C. The rioters greatly outnumbered Capitol security to the point where they were able to filter inside after breaking glass, leaving many to wonder why authorities weren’t more prepared to take action and control the scene.
The attempted coup came as the certification of Joe Biden’s election was underway inside — and on the same day that Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won the Georgia Senate runoff elections. However, the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rally was planned for Jan. 6 ahead of time, and Trump has been encouraging supporters to attend on social media. He even said he’d make an appearance at what he referred to as a “historic day.”
When the situation started to get out of hand, rather than intervene and discourage the large crowd from forcibly gaining entry to the Capitol, Trump tweeted a criticism of Vice President Mike Pence which was widely seen as egging on the mob.
As the situation in D.C. continues to escalate and rioters appear to freely roam through the Capitol without much law enforcement opposition, it’s hard not to think back to the Black Lives Matter protests that took place around the country last summer after George Floyd was murdered by police.
The lack of initial police intervention in these Capitol riots and the tame interactions seen between law enforcement and members of the mob (as captured in this video of police taking selfies with people inside the building) provides a stark contrast to the way authorities handled peaceful protesters last summer. Many anti-racism protesters were met with excessive police presence, pepper spray, tear gas, and moreover the top tactics that we have yet to see on display at the Capitol. Here’s a look at how differently the two situations were handled. (Alternating photos between the Capitol riot and 2020 protests.)