Riot on Capitol Hill

By Liz Calvo

On Jan. 6, 2021, a group of rioters stormed the United States Capitol to protest the defeat of Donald J. Trump in the 2020 presidential election. This was a reaction to Trump and his supporters claiming the election victory was “stolen” from him. After the event was broadcast, many people took their stance on the matter. Barry's students had many different reactions to the situation.

Photo Credit to PBS

Breno Sily, a freshman international business major, called the riot “an absurd occurrence in American history.” Sily believes there should have been more security initially, and more consequences afterward.

Sily believes the actions taken by the U.S. in response to the riots were hypocritical. As an international student from Brazil, Sily has seen how the United States uses force on other countries.

“By invading countries like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and many others, the United States would find ways to make profit [by] invading countries and use guns and ammunition as threats of war,” said Sily.

He notes that these actions were taken in claims of “restoring democracy,” yet there was no attempt to restore democracy during the riot.

Photo Credit to Wall Street Journal

Former President Trump refused to send the National Guard to the Capitol. Following the report of five deaths and about 140 injuries because of the riot, Trump responded by telling protestors they were “very special” and to “go home in peace.”

Sophomore advertising and public relations major Barisha Cranstoun believes the lack of action taken toward rioters is the reason minorities protest to begin with. Cranstoun was emotionally affected by the police response to the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.

“White supremacists are being protected by our nation's Capitol while minorities protesting for safety and equality are treated like criminals,” said Cranstoun.

Photo Credit to Al Jazeera

Cranstoun adds that the rioters were “practically invited to cause violence by our former president.” This statement comes after Trump’s Save America rally, where he repeatedly spoke of a “need to fight.”

“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” said Trump.

These words are believed to have instigated the riot at the Capitol. Rioters made their way to the Capitol, where Congress was beginning the process of counting the Electoral College votes to confirm President Joe Biden’s victory.

For Andres Guillen, a Barry alumnus who majored in television and digital media, the riot was an example of Republicans "cultivating hatred and embracing white supremacy and fascism.”

However, Guillen, who considers himself a socialist, was frustrated with Democrats during the situation. He says they “equated the Capitol riot to the police brutality protests of 2020.”

Guillen does not agree with this comparison because the police brutality protests were “demonstrations against racial discrimination, police brutality, and fascism.” The riot was nothing of this sort, so Guillen believes the two should not be compared.