U of R political scientist responds to pro-Trump protests at U.S. Capitol “didn’t expect anything like this”

It was a historic day in the United States Wednesday for all the wrong reasons as a protest convened at Washington D.C.’s Capitol building.

Supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump took to the Capitol building to protest the results of November’s US election which saw President-elect Joe Biden defeat Trump, leading to false claims from Trump of election fraud.

University of Regina political scientist Jim Farney says he was expecting a protest from Trump supporters, but nothing like this.

“This is not really a protest anymore though,” Farney said. “Pick a word you want to put on it; some people on Twitter are calling it terrorism, some (call it) insurrection.

“This goes quite a bit further than protest, and I hoped people would pull back from that brink.”

Farney says he was shocked to see the severity of the protests.

“You kind of always tell students that democracy is a fairly fragile thing and and it needs to be protected, but you don’t expect to see armed protesters inside the U.S. Capitol,” Farney said. “I think something that in established democracies we’re lucky enough to have been able to forget about is that having peaceful transitions of power is really core to the whole enterprise.”

Farney says he’s like to believe something like this wouldn’t happen in Canada, but he remains hesitant to say so with any certainty.

“If you look at the way the populist movements — it’s on the right and the left — a lot of them happened in the hard economic times that happened in 2008-09, and they’ve just kind of picked up steam,” Farney said. “My worry — especially in western Canada — is that we’re in one of those moments where people suffer economically.”

According to reports, a woman was shot in the Capitol and has since died. At least 13 protesters have been arrested according to local police. Congress reconvened Wednesday night after the building was secured to confirm electoral college votes, and committed to finishing that process, even if it took all night.

Reports are saying Thursday morning that a total of four people have died.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe responded to the protest Wednesday night in a social media statement:

The United States of America is Canada’s closest ally and has been a beacon of freedom and democracy for…

Posted by Scott Moe on Wednesday, January 6, 2021

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