World leaders were watching Wednesday as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, bringing unprecedented chaos to a country that has long been relied upon for global leadership.
They reacted with shock and sadness.
“Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbor,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted. “Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld – and it will be.”
Other allies were similarly appalled at what they described as an attack on American democracy.
Volkan Bozkir, president of the 193-member United Nations General Assembly, said he was saddened and concerned by the events “of the world’s major democracies.”
Shocking images of chaos at US Capitol: Rioter hangs from balcony; tear gas fills a corridor
But, he tweeted, “I believe that peace & respect for democratic processes will prevail in our host country at this critical time.”
Some had especially harsh words for Trump.
“Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of the American voters and stop trampling on democracy,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter. “From inflammatory words come violent deeds.” He added that “contempt for democratic institutions has disastrous effects.”
“The beauty of democracy?” with a shrug emoji was the reaction tweeted by Bashir Ahmad, a personal assistant to the president of Nigeria, which has seen several coups since independence — including one led decades ago by President Muhammadu Buhari, who most recently entered the office via vote.
“What we are now seeing from Washington is a completely unacceptable attack on democracy in the United States. President Trump is responsible for stopping this. Scary pictures, and amazing that this is the United States,” wrote Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
In Britain, a staunch U.S. ally for generations, both Conservative and Labour party leaders condemned the riots.
“Disgraceful scenes in US Congress,” tweeted Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”
“These are not ‘protestors’ — this a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people,” British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer tweeted about the “horrendous” scenes.
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and Colombian President Iván Duque were among those in Latin America who denounced rioterst, but both also said they were confident American democracy and the rule of law would prevail.
‘An absolutely disgraceful moment’:News anchors express shock at revolting turn at US Capitol
“In this sad episode in the U.S., supporters of fascism showed their real face: anti-democratic and aggressive,″ tweeted Luis Roberto Barroso, Brazilian Supreme Court justice and the head of the country’s electoral court. He said he hoped “American society and institutions react with vigor to this threat to democracy.″
Venezuela said the events in Washington show that the U.S. “is suffering what it has generated in other countries with its politics of aggression.”
Venezuela has undergone numerous U.S.-backed opposition efforts attempting to oust President Nicolás Maduro.
Some NATO allies also warned citizens to be wary of potential further violence.
“We believe that the USA will overcome this domestic political crisis in maturity. We recommend that our citizens in the USA stay away from crowded places and places where shows are held,” said the Turkish Foreign Ministry in a statement.
Several of D.C.’s foreign embassies have also issued warnings to their citizens who are in the country’s capital to stay home, including in Turkey, Bulgaria, and Saudi Arabia.
European Parliament President David Sassoli, who leads one of the largest legislatures in the world, also denounced the scenes at the Capitol. The European Union has spent four cantankerous years dealing with the Trump administration, and its top officials have repeatedly said they are looking forward to a better relationship under President-elect Joe Biden.
“This is insurrection. Nothing less. In Washington,” tweeted Carl Bildt, a former prime minister of Sweden.
Italians watched the events with shock, having always considered the U.S. to be the model of democracy and the country that rescued Italy after its fascist descent during World War II.
But to some, it was inevitable.
“This is the widely anticipated outcome of Trumpism,” tweeted a retired Italian center-left politician, Pierluigi Castagnetti. “And unfortunately it won’t end today. When politics is replaced by deception and fanaticism of the people the drift is inevitable.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
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