Asia

Singapore leaders shocked, saddened by violence after pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol

SINGAPORE – Singapore leaders have expressed shock at the violence that has broken out in the United States, after supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol.

In a Facebook post, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said he hopes the events in the US on Wednesday afternoon (early Thursday, Jan 7, Singapore time) come to a peaceful end.

“(I) have been up, watching shocking scenes in the US Congress where protesters have entered the Chamber, stopped proceedings and forced Members to flee… We hope this ends peacefully. It’s a sad day,” he wrote on Facebook.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin said the events that had transpired in Washington, DC, were “unbelievable”.

“How did this come to pass? It is increasingly becoming easier to agitate and make people angry. It is not without consequences,” he said.

Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling said it was painful to see “shocking images” of the breach on Capitol Hill.

“As the American lawmakers reconvene, we hope for a peaceful transition in America,” she wrote on Facebook.

The US Capitol went into lockdown on Wednesday as pro-Trump protesters stormed barricades and breached the historic building, forcing Congress to suspend an ongoing debate on Republicans’ attempts to overturn the electoral victory of US President-elect Joe Biden.

Smashing windows to enter the building, throngs of right-wing protesters fought with Capitol police once inside, brandishing Trump banners and confederacy flags and cheering from the balconies of the Capitol.

Members of Congress were told to put on gas masks stored underneath their seats, after tear gas was deployed in the Capitol Rotunda.

Multiple officers were reportedly injured and one woman was said to have died after being shot inside the Capitol, according to media reports citing the DC Metropolitan Police Department.

Observers have noted that Wednesday’s extraordinary scenes were the culmination of months of conspiracy theories, fuelled by Mr Trump’s refusal to concede the election even after losing the popular vote and the Electoral College vote.

Just hours before, the President appeared at a rally in front of thousands of protesters, again claiming that the election had been stolen from him.

He urged them to march on the Capitol to “cheer on” Congress and “show strength”, promising he would be there alongside them. He was not, and in a tweet issued after protesters forced their way into the Capitol, Mr Trump asked “everyone at the US Capitol to remain peaceful”.

“No violence!” he added.

After being urged to call for an end to the violence, Mr Trump released a brief video on Twitter repeating his false claims of electoral fraud. “We had an election that was stolen from us… but you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order,” he said.

The US Congress on Wednesday was set to meet to count and announce Mr Biden’s Electoral College win – a process that resumed later in the day after proceedings were interrupted by the breach. Mr Biden had gained a clear Electoral College victory by garnering 306 votes to Mr Trump’s 232 votes in the November 2020 US election.

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