Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor

The Make America Great Again (MAGA) mobs marched on Washington to protest Congress counting the electoral college votes to confirm President-elect Joseph Biden as the next leader of the United States. However, the “Save America March,” became a storm on the Capitol, where extremists smashed windows, occupied offices, rummaged desks and sieged the house of American democracy.

“At this hour our democracy is under unprecedented assault. Unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times. An assault on the citadel of liberty- the Capitol itself.  An assault on the people’s Representatives, the Capitol Hill Police, sworn to protect them and the public servants who work at the heart of our Republic. An assault on the rule of law like few times we’ve ever seen it,” President-elect Biden said. “It’s not a protest. It’s insurrection.”

Before the ‘“insurrection” began, President Donald Trump’s spoke to MAGA Marchers, calling Republicans who disagreed with him “weak” and “pathetic,” and declared he would never concede his position.

“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical Democrats,” Trump said during the march and just hours after polls projected that Georgia’s Senatorial race would help Democrats win back the Senate. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It will never happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.”   

According to Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Police Chief Robert Contee, minutes after Trump’s speech, MAGA marchers were storming the Capitol Building.

“Demonstrators came to our city to exercise their Constitutional rights, and were mainly concentrated in the area of the National Mall. Following the President’s remarks, a large crowd began to march eastbound on Madison Ave N.W. and Constitution Avenue N.W. as the demonstrators approached the Capitol grounds, there was a noticeable change in their demeanor. They breached the fencing along the Capitol grounds and confronted police lines surrounding the building. MPD was requested by Capitol Police to provide assistance with crowd management. 

And due to the violent behavior towards the police officers there, and their intent on gaining access into the Capitol, a riot was declared. It was clear that the crowd was intent on causing harm, by deploying chemical irritants and forcing entry into the Capitol Building,” said Contee, who announced on Jan. 4 that the National Guard would also be assisting District officers.

In addition to the U.S. Capitol Police, MPD and the National Guard, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she invoked a standing mutual aid agreement “several days ago,” in order for nearby jurisdictions to also deploy their officers, including those from: Arlington County in Virginia, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Baltimore City in Maryland and New Jersey State Police.

Officers were out and roads were blocked with a quickness.  Anywhere in walking distance from downtown, there were sightings of people with red outfits, MAGA hats and massive Trump flags and signs trying to walk to their destinations in spite of closed streets.

After 2:30 p.m., it was nearly impossible to navigate the streets as cavalries of police cars, trucks, buses, wagons and even what appeared to be National Guard tanks, weaved through or stopped traffic.  

“One civilian was reported to have sustained a gunshot wound inside the Capitol. Details of the shooting are not immediately available and the situation remains under investigation,” Contee explained. It was reported later in the evening that the unidentified victim died.

With officers deployed to the Capitol, where protests continued on the grounds and MPD not having full jurisdiction, Bowser set a 6 p.m. curfew and assured District residents the extremists would be held accountable.  

“Anyone who has engaged in these activities, continues to engage in these activities, will be held accountable. There will be law and order and this behavior will not be tolerated,” the D.C. Mayor said. 

However, many Washingtonians are having trouble trusting the Mayor after she assured residents there were policies and programming in place to help avoid violence. Further some are furious, despite the First Amendment, that Bowser allowed the demonstration to happen with knowledge of the threat of violence and the hateful rhetoric spewed by some Trump supporters.  Many felt the march never had to do with politics.  

“This isn’t about the election, it’s not about politics, it’s about America’s White supremacy,” life-long District resident Kathleen Taylor told the {AFRO}. “This isn’t what ‘peace’ looks like.”

As many Washingtonians criticize city leadership for permitting the march to occur, President-elect Biden condemned Trump for encouraging the violence once the demonstration began with his harsh insults and refusal to concede.

“The words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad a president is.  At their best, the words of a President can inspire. At their worst, they can incite,” Biden said.  “I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.”

Trump did not go on national television immediately though; instead the Tweeter-in-Chief took to social media, “asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful,”– an action other politicians are calling out as not enough, and a far cry from the marcher’s goal of saving America.

Hard to take seriously the political arsonists, starting with Trump, when they say they want to put out the flames after they lit the match,” Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen (D) tweeted. I never thought we would live to see the day that violent mobs seized control of the Capitol. I cry for our country.”

While the rest of the world and nation reacts to the siege of the heart of American democracy, D.M.V. residents are particularly stirred.

Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor