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A Democracy in Danger: Protestors storm the Capitol

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On Wednesday 6th January 2021, just two weeks before the inauguration of President-ElectJoe Biden, a narrow group of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. They struck at the heart of the American democratic establishment. The Capitol stands as the meeting place of the nation’s legislature and a symbol ofvenerated power. This made the event deeply shocking for the American people andobservers all around the world. The protestors were violently contesting the November2020 election result, where Trump has claimed his victory was stolen from him in afraudulent execution of the presidential election. Protesters rampaged the halls, with law enforcement officers rapidly losing control of thesituation. In the following hours, President Trump told his supporters in a tweet, “Go homewith love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” He has subsequently been banned fromthe social media platforms Twitter and Facebook, indefinitely. The right to free expression of one’s beliefs and freedom to assemble is protected under theFirst Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, on the condition it is peaceful. The riotousbehavior which unfurled was far removed from any kind of peaceful protest and caused fivedeaths as a result. Leaders around the world rallied around Joe Biden to condemn theactions of those responsible, describing it as “an assault on the rule of law”. Boris Johnsoncondemned the actions of the President saying, “I unreservedly condemn encouragingpeople to behave in the disgraceful way that they did in the Capitol”. Those involved havebeen labeled as insurrectionists and domestic terrorists. The U.S. Congress has confirmed that Joe Biden will be inaugurated as President despite theclaims of Trump’s supporters. This level of political unrest will no doubt have a longstandingeffect on the American governmental establishment, and may well taint the upcomingtransition of power. Such a delicate process of transferring power is, after all, one of the keyrequirements of a working democracy. The thought remains, however, what kind of state American democracy is falling into. It isbecoming a more frequent concern that citizens no longer trust the political system whichoperates in their country, nor the police forces which are entrusted to protect thosecitizens. The world will have to wait and see whether this dangerously adversarial form ofpolitics settles over the next few months in the hands of a new President. 

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