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JOE BIDEN’S victory in November’s US presidential election was finally confirmed by Congress today, but only after riots on Capitol Hill that saw the House of Representatives invaded and left four Trump supporters dead.
Despite commentators describing the chaotic scenes as “a fascist coup,” US President Donald Trump eventually backed down after having fuelled the protests for weeks amid unsubstantiated claims he was deprived a landslide victory due to electoral fraud.
In a three-paragraph statement today, he finally conceded that there will be “an orderly transition” of power on January 20 when Mr Biden is sworn in as the next president.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20,” he said via his social media director after Twitter blocked his account for inciting violence.
Facebook also banned him today, on grounds that he was using the platform to promote insurrection against the democratically elected US government.
But the President struck a defiant tone, warning: “While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to make America great again!”
A woman was shot dead by security officials near the House of Representatives chamber while three others died in “medical emergencies” during the occupation of the Senate building, according to Washington DC police.
The chaotic scenes were beamed around the world, leaving observers stunned by the weak police and security presence that allowed far-right rioters to access the Capitol Hill building with relative ease.
Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar sponsored a resolution impeaching Mr Trump for “high crimes and misdemeanours” following the episode, backed by other representatives including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush.
In a statement, the Black Lives Matter movement argued that the scenes had been centuries in the making.
“The underwhelming presence and action of law enforcement today was a representation of the white supremacy that will never allow our black communities to be free,” it said.
“Let’s not avoid the reality that we all know would have transpired had these been black folks.”
In contrast to the lax policing of the Stop the Steal protest – in which an assortment of far-right gangs and white supremacists took part – BLM demonstrations have been met by a heavily militarised response, including tear gas and mass arrests.
BLM hit out at US security forces’ inconsistent response to public unrest.
“When black people protest for our lives, we are all too often met by National Guard troops or police equipped with assault rifles, shields, tear gas and battle helmets.
“When white people attempt a coup, they are met by an underwhelming number of law enforcement personnel who act powerless to intervene – going so far as to pose for selfies with terrorists – and prevent an escalation of anarchy and violence like we witnessed today.
“Make no mistake, if the protesters were black, we would have been tear-gassed, battered and perhaps shot,” it said.
The scenes provoked global condemnation, including from former close allies of Mr Trump including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In a statement made while standing alongside US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, he said: “The rampage at the Capitol yesterday was a disgraceful act that must be vigorously condemned.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani branded Mr Trump “an unhealthy person” and argued that the incident showed ”how brittle and weak Western democracy is.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the deaths showed that US authorities had been more violent in their response to protest than their counterparts in Hong Kong.
“While the degree of violence and destruction in Washington is not as serious as what happened in Hong Kong, four people have died,” she said.
Turkey issued a travel warning, telling its citizens in the US to stay away from crowded places. Ankara also called on all parties to come together and manage the situation “in a mature manner.”
Venezuelan Oil Minister Tareck El Aisammi commented: “What goes around comes around,” while former National Assembly speaker Diasdado Cabello said: “I’ll be brief: the United States – what a disaster.”
The events overshadowed a stunning Senate election result in Georgia, where the Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
It means that the Democrats will control the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House for the first time since 2009.
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