Australian conservative columnist Miranda Devine has been condemned online after she controversially blamed last year’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations against racial injustice for the pro-Trump riots at the US Capitol on Wednesday.
“I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised at what’s happening in the Capitol after the way leftist violence was condoned most of last year,” Devine tweeted. “You let the genie out of the bottle, there’s no telling where it goes.”
Many people on Twitter, including some well-known Australian media personalities, criticised Devine for her “disgusting” tweet, branding her a “stain on Australia” and a “complete disgrace”.
“You are a stain on Australia. Shame on you. Log off forever,” tweeted author and journalist Jill Stark.
TV presenter Danny Clayton didn’t mince his words, telling Devine, “I would agree with you BUT that would make me an ignorant, bitter, subhuman”.
Comedian and host Charlie Pickering put his response quite simply: “Shame on you”.
Devine appeared to be referring to the displays of tens of thousands of people last year who took to the streets both peacefully and violently to protest the death of George Floyd, a Black Minnesota man who died in police custody in May 2020, and the others who came before him.
Demonstrations initially rocked Minneapolis, leading to looting and violent clashes with police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets.
At the time curfews were enacted in various US cities and President Donald Trump urged states and local governments to call in the National Guard for additional law enforcement support.
Floyd’s brother, Philonese Floyd, stressed on CNN at the time that protests should be peaceful, but he said people were acting out because they are “torn and hurt because they’re tired of seeing Black men die. Constantly, over and over again.”
Meanwhile on Wednesday local time hundreds who support outgoing President Donald Trump arrived at the US Capitol, forcing their way in while a joint session of Congress met to formally certify the results of the 2020 election.
As Trump supporters clashed with law enforcement officials and broke windows, scaled walls and pushed through barricades, the Capitol office building went into lockdown and members of Congress were evacuated.
A woman was fatally shot, though the circumstances of the shooting are unclear.
Trump shared a video message on Twitter late in the afternoon in which he asked protesters to “go home in peace”, though erroneously repeated the election was stolen from him.
“We love you,” he told the rioters in the clip, adding, “You’re very special”. Earlier in the day Trump told his supporters at a rally on the National Mall that President-elect Joe Biden stole his victory.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the riots as “very distressing scenes”, while the country’s Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese urged Trump to “call on his supporters to stand down”.
Never miss a thing. Sign up to HuffPost Australia’s weekly newsletter for the latest news, exclusives and guides to achieving the good life.