As the world watched the storming of the U.S. Capitol amid the attempt to certify election results on Wednesday, Jan. 6, in Washington D.C., many said they noticed an apparent difference in treatment of the pro-Trump mob and those who protested against racial injustice over the summer following the death of George Floyd.
The Black Lives Matter movement made a statement on Wednesday calling out the hypocrisy of the nation’s law enforcement in response to protests writing, “when Black people protest for our lives, we are met by National Guard troops or police equipped with assault rifles, tear gas and battle helmets. When white people attempt a coup, they are met by an underwhelming number of law enforcement personnel who act powerless to intervene,” on its Twitter.
Today’s insurrection and coup by hundreds of pro-Trump supporters is one more example of the hypocrisy in our country’s law enforcement response to protest.— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) January 6, 2021
These guys are engaging in hand-to-hand combat with police after storming the US Capitol. In other news, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Rayshard Brooks, Aura Rosser, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Alton Sterling and Eric Garner are all dead. pic.twitter.com/URn8w3Y88m— L i v (@oliviamunn) January 6, 2021
Others contended that during protests against racial injustice, people were not stopped and damage was done.
And what about the months of violent protests and billions in damage you caused? https://t.co/QwdMGDeT7h— Your Favorite Fan (@TheePhillyGator) January 7, 2021
During a march for George Floyd in downtown Houston on Sunday, June 2, the police department said more than 200 individuals were arrested for their involvement in criminal activity such as throwing rocks and bottles at officers.
According to figures compiled by AJ+, an Al Jazeera digital news project that tracks human rights and equality, the difference in arrests made stand at 52 Trump supporters arrested in the Capitol attack compared to more than 400 individuals arrested during Black Lives Matter protests in D.C. and more than 10,000 nationwide.
Arrests after a pro-Trump mob violently stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop certification of election results: 52— AJ+ (@ajplus) January 7, 2021
Arrests at anti-racism protests in the days after the police killing of #GeorgeFloyd:
- DC: over 430 (88 on one night)
- Nationwide: over 10,000 pic.twitter.com/B4Rqgw8vOf
Many on social media have expressed that Trump supporters who invaded the Capitol and were able to sit at the desk of U.S. leaders and posing for pictures with officers inside is the epitome of white privilege, arguing that law enforcement would have intervened with a person of color’s attempt to trespass the government building.
That’s Richard “Bigo” Barnett, 60, from Gravette, Ak., showing off the personalized envelope he took from Speaker Pelosi’s office. He insisted he didn’t steal it — “I left a quarter on her desk.” pic.twitter.com/aST7MCoRwP— Matthew Rosenberg (@AllMattNYT) January 6, 2021
Furthermore, many pointed out the different tone of the president’s message to Black Lives Matter protesters saying, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” in comparison to his less threatening response to those who stormed the Capitol, in which he said “We don’t want anybody hurt... We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special.”
‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts’*— Fuzzy (@coolieduppy) January 6, 2021
*𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘭𝘺 https://t.co/GcKyLNzLjP
In addition to the different responses in each protest, many online are accusing the respective agency of systemic racism, comparing pictures of the National Guard present at the Capitol ahead of Black Lives Matter protests in preparation for civil unrest while seemingly absent as Trump supporters were scaling walls to get inside the building.
However, well aware of events to take place on Jan. 6 as President Trump shared multiple tweets promoting “March for Trump” organized by Women for America First, on Monday the D.C. mayor called in the National Guard ahead of the protest, bracing for possible violence, AP reports.
The Guard was mobilized Wednesday afternoon to support local police following the storming of the Capitol.
The Defense Department has activated approximately 6,200 members of the National Guard to support the Capitol Police through the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Here’s a further look at the differences being discussed following the Capitol insurrection. In this combination of photos from the Associated Press, demonstrators, left, protest June 4, 2020, in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, over the death of George Floyd and on Jan. 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump rally at same location.
In this combination of photos, demonstrators, left, protest June 4, 2020, in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, over the death of George Floyd and on Jan. 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump rally at same location. (AP Photos)