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The US Capitol Riot Was Even More Violent And Terrifying Than It First Looked

Sara Boboltz
·2-min read

The most widely distributed images of the riot at the US Capitol on Wednesday captured unprecedented — and certainly shocking — behaviour.

They feature ostentatious participants — like the bare-chested man wearing a horned hat and face paint, who looked like he was headed to a football stadium on game day — or rioters in striking poses, propping their feet up on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office or toting Pelosi’s stolen lectern through the Rotunda.

In video footage aired on CNN, a buoyant young man mentions that somewhere inside the Capitol had been dubbed the “weed room,” as if the riot were just a rowdy house party. A number of grainy photos showed various people, some draped in Trump flags, posing on the Senate floor like it was a theme park attraction.

But as more videos and photos have emerged in the days since, it’s become clear that the footage that initially circulated online and in media coverage did not capture the startling degree of violence that rocked Washington, DC, this week and left five people dead. Video footage and first-person accounts helped reveal how the incident could have been even deadlier.

“You’ll never take back our country with weakness,” President Donald Trump told his supporters, shortly before they knocked over fences and forced their way into the Capitol building. “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

A noose on makeshift gallows outside the US Capitol on Wednesday, when supporters of President Donald Trump forced their way into the building. Much of the imagery that has emerged in subsequent days has captured just how violent the siege was.
A noose on makeshift gallows outside the US Capitol on Wednesday, when supporters of President Donald Trump forced their way into the building. Much of the imagery that has emerged in subsequent days has captured just how violent the siege was.

New York Times photographer Erin Schaff described how she thought she might die inside the Capitol, after a small group of men confronted her and demanded to know who she worked for.

“Grabbing my press pass, they saw that my ID said The New York Times and became really angry,” Schaff wrote on Thursday. “They threw me to the floor, trying to take my cameras. I started screaming for help as loudly as I could. No one came. People just watched. At this point, I thought I could be killed and no one would stop them.”

Schaff made it out safely, but only after police officers...

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