News outlets around the world had a virtual field day reporting on the chaos inside and around the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, with publications on every continent carrying the shocking images of Trump supporters storming the building and clashing with police.
“We’re used to seeing this kind of mayhem in the Middle East, but to see it now playing out it Washington, it’s just very shocking,” said one producer at a leading Arabic-language news outlet who had reached out to The Washington Times for an assessment of the situation Wednesday afternoon.
The producer, who asked not to be identified because of a network policy, echoed sentiment felt in newsrooms from Europe to Australia, where one of the leading newspapers, The Australian, topped its website with a photo of a policeman wearing a gas mask inside the U.S. Capitol.
The photo ran beneath a headline describing the chaos as being “as close to a coup as anything” that’s ever happened in America.
U.S. adversaries were also closely watching. The Russian-government run global satellite network RT led its website with the headline: “Trump supporters in ARMED STANDOFF with police inside US Capitol as offices evacuated & lawmakers told to don gas masks.”
English language versions of China’s state-controlled media were slower to the take, with the Chinese Communist Party-run Global Times newspaper having not mentioned the developments as of Monday evening in Washington.
While it was still the wee hours of the morning in Beijing, U.S. national security experts warned that Chinese officials were likely weighing how to spin the developments.
Some U.S. lawmakers expressed similar concerns as they grappled in real time with the standoff at the Capitol. Speaking by telephone with CNN from Capitol Hill at the height of the standoff, Rep. Mike Gallagher, Wisconsin Republican, warned that the whole world, including “the Chinese Communist Party,” was watching.
Other U.S. adversaries were also initially guarded in their coverage. English language versions of Iranian state media, for instance, had not mentioned the developments as of early Wednesday evening.
But many English language Arab news outlets carried coverage by The Associated Press.
The website Saudi Arabia-based Arab News was blazoned with the headline: “US Capital locked down as Trump supporters clash with police.”
Beneath the headline was a photo showing U.S. Capitol police officers with their guns drawn inside the U.S. House chamber.
Similar coverage was permeating through the European media landscape by late Wednesday afternoon.
The website of the French daily newspaper Le Figaro carried a story by its Washington correspondent, Adrien Jaulmes, who wrote that “the scorched earth strategy practiced by Donald Trump since the ballot on November 3, by refusing against all odds the result of the ballot, has brought American democracy into a serious constitutional crisis.”
“The strategy has so far only succeeded in fracturing the Republican Party and stoking resentment and mistrust in both parties.”
Images of protesters storming the U.S. Capitol building were also front and center on the websites of other major European outlets, including Spain’s leading newspaper El País and the BBC.
• David R. Sands contributed to this report.
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