Five Eyes Leaders Echo US Leaders Condemning Violence, Lawlessness at Capitol

Five Eyes Leaders Echo US Leaders Condemning Violence, Lawlessness at Capitol
National Guard troops walk through the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 6, 2021. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison joined the leaders of the Five Eyes nations—the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States—in expressing their sentiments about rioters and protestors storming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday during a joint session of Congress.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnston wrote on Twitter that the scenes were "disgraceful."

"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," he wrote on Jan. 6.

His sentiments were echoed by both Australia's and New Zealand's prime ministers, Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern.

Morrison said America was one of the greatest democracies in the world and that Australia's thoughts were with them.

"The riots and protests that we have seen in Washington D.C have been terribly distressing," Morrison said. "They are very concerning."

Ardern wrote that the voice of the people should not be undone by a mob.

"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. Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail," she wrote.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter that Canadians were disturbed about the attack on democracy in the United States, its closest neighbour and ally.

"Democracy in the US must be upheld — and it will be," Trudeau said.

The rioters and protestors who stormed the U.S. Capitol—a small percentage of the larger crowd gathered on Capitol Hill—triggered the evacuation of Congress members. The mayhem left at least four people dead—three for medical reasons after authorities released tear gas to disperse the crowds—and dozens of police officers injured, D.C. police said.

“The violence we saw yesterday at our nation’s capital was appalling, reprehensible, and antithetical to the American way. We condemn it, the president and this administration, in the strongest possible terms,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh MacEnany told reporters.

“It is unacceptable, and those that broke the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she said.

President Donald Trump addressed America on Jan. 8 and said he was outraged at the "heinous attack" on the U.S. Capitol.

"Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness, and mayhem.

"I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders. America is and must always be a nation of law and order.

The demonstrators who infiltrated the capital have filed the seat of American democracy.

"To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country, and to those who broke the law you will pay," he said.

The president called for calm after an "intense election" and said his campaign "vigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results" in order to ensure the integrity of the vote.

"In so doing, I was fighting to defend American democracy. I continue to strongly believe that we must reform our election laws to verify the identity and eligibility of all voters and ensure faith and confidence in all future elections," he said.

Trump also said he believed election laws must be reformed to verify the identity and eligibility of voters and said there would be a "smooth, orderly, and seamless" transition of power on Jan. 20.

Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.