Facebook and Twitter take action against US president as he fails to condemn violence
Violent supporters of President Donald Trump breached the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, as lawmakers met to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s poll win. In dramatic scenes, demonstrators swarmed the building as Congress members were escorted out by police. A joint session of Congress had been counting and confirming electoral college votes but has been suspended and forced into recess. There are reports of guns drawn in the building and at least one person shot.
There was an armed confrontation at the doors of the House of Representatives. Tear gas has also been used. Members of Congress were told to evacuate the building or remain where they are. One congresswoman tweeted that she was staying in her office.
Rioters overpowered police and broke into the Capitol to protest as a joint session of Congress convened to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. The incident led to several condemnations of US President Trump for inciting the riots, with some calling for his immediate impeachment and removal.
Many senators and representatives got stuck in their offices. Congresswoman Grace Meng tweeted that she had barricaded herself in her office: “After 5 hours I’ve been rescued from my hiding place. Now i can show you my DIY barricade and gas masks. Protestors were right outside the door chanting ‘USA USA’ it was scary but i am ok! Thanks all for your prayers,” Meng, who represents House of Representatives from New York’s 6th congressional district, said on Twitter with a couple of photos.
By late evening, the woman who was shot during the violent protests at the US Capitol was pronounced dead at an area hospital, a spokesperson with the Metropolitan Police Department confirmed to CNN. “Yes, the adult female that was shot inside of the Capitol was pronounced dead at an area hospital,” said spokesperson Dustin Sternbeck with the Metropolitan Police Department. The woman’s name was not released. Video posted on social media showed a crowd inside the Capitol, a gunshot was heard and then the woman, wearing a Trump banner around her neck, lowered to the ground. She could later be seen being loaded into an ambulance with blood around her upper body, according to Washington Post.
“I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement,” said former US President George W Bush.
Several lawmakers called on Trump to condemn the actions of his supporters.
In a one-minute video on Twitter, Trump urged his supporters to ‘go home’, while reiterating his unproven allegations that the recently-concluded presidential election was fraudulent’ and ‘stolen’.”I know you are pained, I know you are hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. That was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We’ve to have law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt,” he said.
On Wednesday evening, for the first time, microblogging site Twitter on Wednesday (local time) officially removed several tweets from US President Donald Trump, where he spoke on the violent protests at the US Capitol. One of the deleted tweets was a video where Trump addressed his supporters, telling them to ‘go home’ while reiterating allegations of voter fraud, while another deleted tweet had him saying Vice President Mike Pence lacked the “courage” to do what was necessary. The removal comes after Facebook and YouTube removed Trump’s video to supporters, and amid calls by the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP for Trump’s social media accounts to be suspended outright, reported CNN.
In a tweet, Facebook’s VP of integrity Guy Rosen called this ‘an emergency situation’, and said that the video contributes to the risk of ongoing violence.
“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence,” tweeted Rosen.
Trump later tweeted: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”. This tweet was also deleted.
See the days events on an ITV report here