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'Attack on democracy': European leaders express shock at storming of US Capitol

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By Euronews with AP
Police hold off Trump supporters who tried to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.
Police hold off Trump supporters who tried to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.   -   Copyright  Julio Cortez/AP Photo

European leaders expressed shock at the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, as chaos unfolded in a country they once relied upon for global leadership.

European allies were appalled at what they described as an attack on American democracy.

"When, in one of the oldest democracies in the world, supporters of the ongoing president challenge the legitimate results of an election by force of arms, it is a universal idea, that of one man, one voice, that is demolished," French President Emmanuel Macron said in video.

"In the 20th century, the United States stood with France during the two World Wars, whenever its independence, its freedom were threatened. Today, France stands strongly, fervently and resolutely with the American people and with all the people who want to choose their leaders, determine their own destinies and their own lives through free and democratic elections.

"And we will not yield to the violence of a few individuals who want to challenge that," he added.

Across the Rhine, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the images of people storming the Capitol in Washington made her "angry and sad."

"But I am sure that the American democracy will prove to be much stronger than the aggressors and rioters," she said.

Germany's top diplomat Heiko Maas, had earlier singled out US President Donald Trump for harsh criticism.

"Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of the American voters and stop trampling on democracy,'' German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter.

He said that "from inflammatory words come violent deeds'' and added that "contempt for democratic institutions has disastrous effects."

In Brussels, European Council President Charles Michel, expressed "shock" over the events in the US capital.

The European Union has had tumultuous relationship with the Trump administration in the past four years. Its top officials have repeatedly said they were looking forward to a better relationship under President-elect Joe Biden

"Joe Biden won the election. I look forward to working with him as the next President of the USA," tweeted European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen.

European Parliament President David Sassoli, who leads one of the largest legislatures in the world, called the scenes "deeply concerning".

Ireland's Taoiseach Micheal Martin wrote that "the Irish people have a deep connection with the United States of America, built up over many generations."

"I know many, like me, will be watching the scenes unfolding in Washington DC with great concern and dismay," he added.

Across the Irish Sea, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, a staunch ally of the United States over generations, described the scenes in Washington as "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."