Was the attack on the Capitol a rally, protest or insurrection?

April Simpson: Center for Public Integrity: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 08 January 2021:

“Not since the War of 1812 has our Capitol seen a mass breach by armed combatants. We only begin to scratch the surface this week of understanding how a mob of white supremacists, waving Confederate flags and incited by the sitting president of the United States, was allowed to occupy and ransack one of our most sacred institutions. Years of norm-breaking, rhetoric and lies appealing to our country’s worst racist and xenophobic instincts brought us to this point, against a backdrop of concrete policy changes that have led to historic degrees of inequality,” says Matt DeRienzo, editor in chief, publicintegrity.org.

What happened at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021?

Depends on whom you ask. To some, the attack by hundreds of mostly white men and women was an insurrection. To others it was a coup.

The participants billed themselves as patriots, even as they paraded the hallways with the Confederate battle flag and took down the stars and stripes and replaced it with a Trump campaign banner; to leaders of Congress from both parties, they were domestic terrorists.

And the question remains how history will record events that resulted in the interruption of Congress’ certification of the presidential election, the occupation and ransacking of Congressional chambers and offices, and the deaths of at least four people.

Was it a rally that got out of hand, a protest or an insurrection?

How will history remember a president who urged them on in a campaign to overthrow the results of a valid election that he lost by more than 7 million votes?

Were the men and women who breached the building demonstrators or seditionists?

“Words like insurrectors, rioters, a mob are not typically words that we would use to describe white supremacist rallies or pro-Trump rallies,” said Danielle Kilgo, a journalism professor at the University of Minnesota. “It was different to see that kind of description — an accurate description — for these kinds of protests that are usually shrouded in privilege. It’s not a privilege that Black Lives Matter protests tend to enjoy because of their almost automatic association for the potential for violence and rioting.”

Not 24 hours passed from when Georgia, dominated by Republicans for decades, made history by electing the first Black Democrat to the U.S. Senate before the mob rushed the U.S. Capitol and desecrated the country’s center of power, a space built by slaves centuries ago and largely led by wealthy white men today.

“People recognized that there was going to be a turning the page in American history and they were not going to be a footnote,” said Bobby J. Donaldson, associate professor of history at the University of South Carolina. “The president encouraged them to let your voice be heard and they took him seriously.”

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser called Wednesday’s insurgency “textbook terrorism,’ while reading the legal definition during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said Thursday that his office may consider Trump’s remarks prior to the riot in its investigation.

In the run up to Wednesday’s riot, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas cited the 1877 Compromise as reason to delay Senate confirmation of Joe Biden’s presidential win. It is infamous for ending Reconstruction after the Civil War and leading to the disenfranchisement of Black people for generations.

Reconstruction was an experiment in interracial democracy, and it was deliberately undermined at the hands of terrorism, voter suppression and mob violence, Donaldson said.

Even after Wednesday’s violence interrupted the certification of the presidential vote on Wednesday, Cruz was joined by five other senators and 121 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, all Republicans, in objecting to the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the first woman and first Black woman to ever be elected to the vice presidency.

In this charged moment, “words have power. The rhetoric matters,” said historian Michael Landis, author of Northern Men with Southern Loyalties: The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis.

“Both sides are claiming the side of freedom and liberty and patriotism,” Landis said. “Each side gets riled up with that rhetoric and those words. They have impact. But they’re devoid of meaning, especially if you’re not thinking about it. Are you fighting for the country that was or the country that will be? Which patriot are you?”

This story was published by the Center for Public Integrity.



  1. And these are the people that African leaders and the rest of the world are looking up to as shining examples of what any vibrant and robust Democracy should look like.They can’t keep their houses in order and yet they are intruding in the affairs of sovereign nations like Iran, North Korea, China
    and many others.The cornerstone of Democracy, the peaceful and sane transfer of power has now become a highly abstract concept in the United States it seems.

    Imagine this quietly for a minute, they invaded Iraq and Libya and overthrew their leaders just to impose a convoluted Democracy they are still struggling to grasp with both hands.(lol) Donald Trump is not a mythical creature, neither is he the BoogeyMan but one of their own children – a quintessential American hero – charming, rich, famous, tall and handsome. Strange is it not? Their shiny beacon of progress called Democracy is now gasping and panting for air in shambles, looking tattered and shattered to pieces like broken glass.

    Of course it was an Insurrection – a violent revolt against civil authority and the entire democratic system as a whole. By the look of things it seems many people are going to be tossed in jail so that they can cool down and chill out for a while;(lol) Here’s what the law says; “Whoever incites, sets foot, assists or engages in any rebellion or Insurrection against the authority of the United States, or the laws thereof, or gives aid and comfort thereto, shall be under this titled or imprisoned not more than ten years or both.(Title 18.U.S Code – 2383) Oh boy! A lot of people with loose screws dangling in their heads have totally screwed up their pathethic seditious lives forever.(lol)

  2. This assault on US capitol building was not merely angry Trump supporters venting their anger or letting off steam, against elections results, usually reserved for a Banana Republics. Usually, the losing candidate goes on the rampage, or refuses to take part in the democratic process like what occurred recently in the central African Republic or throwing punches in the recently inaugurated Ghanaian parliament. Back in the sixties, when coups across Africa was like a fashion label that countries carry around, Sierra Leone unfortunately found itself in a predicament after the 1967 disputed elections, in which the SLPP under Sir Albert Margai denied Siaka Stevens of the opposition APC, through the help of the military, to take office after the electoral commission had declared him winner.

    The military stepped in, under Brigadier David Lansana and Stevens ended up in exile, in Guinea. A year later, our country became one of the first on the continent to have the military organise a counter coup under Brigadier John Amadu Bangura, who proceeded to hand back Stevens his rightful win. It was unheard of, ecause Nigeria was getting ready for their own civil war, the Baifran war after their own 1966 military take over under General Ironsi, killed the first prime minister Tafewa Balewa and most of the northern leaders. In Sierra Leone Stevens was sworn in as our prime minister and in later years John A Bangura was excecuted by Stevens.

    And if you want to know all about political executions that followed right up to the start of the RUF wars, and thereafter look no further. The seed of suspicious between the APC and SLPP was sown back then, and we still have not been able to move on since those rigged 1976 elections. This was an organised attempt to overthrow American democracy pure and simple. The net effect of this behaviour is, it undermines democracy and the rule of law not only in America but around the world. It emboldened supporters of Bio and those who have dictatorial tendencies to conclude to themselves that if the cradle of democracy, rule of law, respect for the press and free speech, can do that, well they can too. I hope Bio, and his people don’t go that route after the 2023 elections .

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