‘Disgraceful’ and ‘distressing’: World leaders react to storming of US Capitol

World leaders have condemned the storming of the US Capitol building in Washington, with many expressing their shock and outrage.

Such chaotic scenes might normally be associated with the toppling of a dictator, but this was an attempt by American citizens to stop a peaceful transition to power after a democratic election.

One woman was killed after being shot by security, while three others died following medical emergencies.

Leaders around the world issued statements or posted on social media during and after the chaos.

Here is some of the reaction:

United Nations

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “is saddened by the events at the US Capitol,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“In such circumstances, it is important that political leaders impress on their followers the need to refrain from violence, as well as to respect democratic processes and the rule of law.”


“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.”

Four dead as outrage grows over storming of Congress – live updates


“The riots and protests that we’ve seen in Washington, DC, have been terribly distressing. They are very concerning,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters.

“This is a difficult time for the United States, clearly. They’re a great friend of Australia, and they’re one of the world’s greatest democracies. And so… our thoughts are with them and we hope for the peaceful transition to take place,” he said.

NATO secretary general

Jens Stoltenberg tweeted: “Shocking scenes in Washington, DC. The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.”


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country was “deeply disturbed” by the events in the US, Canada’s closest ally and neighbour.

“Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld – and it will be,” Mr Trudeau tweeted.

European Union

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “I believe in the strength of US institutions and democracy.

“Peaceful transition of power is at the core. @JoeBiden won the election. I look forward to working with him as the next President of the USA.”

New Zealand

“What is happening is wrong,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.

“Democracy – the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully – should never be undone by a mob.”


Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a tweet: “I am following with concern the news that are coming from Capitol Hill in Washington. I trust in the strength of America’s democracy.

“The new Presidency of @JoeBiden will overcome this time of tension, uniting the American people.”


“In this sad episode in the US, 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 vigour to this threat to democracy.”


Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said democracy’s enemies would be cheered by scenes of violence at the Capitol, and he called on Mr Trump to accept US voters’ decision.

In a tweet, Mr Maas said the violence had been caused by inflammatory rhetoric: “Trump and his supporters must accept the decision of American voters at last and stop trampling on democracy.”


Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney called the scenes in Washington “a deliberate assault on Democracy by a sitting president & his supporters, attempting to overturn a free & fair election! The world is watching! We hope for restoration of calm.”

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