Journalists on Capitol Storming: ‘I knew it would be a mess. ‘

It has now been four days since Trump supporters forcibly granted access to the US Capitol. Eyewitnesses have had time to settle the experiences. With three journalists who were there, Nieuwsuur looks back.

The three expected it to be a noisy day. The election of Joe Biden as president had to be ratified by Congress, and President Donald Trump had called on his supporters to come to the Capitol to protest.

Marcus DiPaola, freelance journalist with over two million followers on TikTok, is most definitely: โ€œI knew it was going to be a complete mess when Trump tweeted that January 6 was going to go wild. Anyone should have known that the protesters would storm the Capitol. It was all over their social media pages. It is very common for them to discuss these things in public.โ€

Police withdraw

The first thing DiPaola sees when he arrives at the Capitol by 2pm is โ€œa pack of 600 protesters fighting with the policeโ€. He decides to start filming when a protester makes a shot at punching a cop with his fist. โ€œI realized something terrible was going to happen.โ€

The first thing he films next is the cops who withdraw from the crowd. โ€œWhat are six cops doing against a crowd of 600 men?โ€

Meanwhile, Kadia Goba is inside the Capitol, where she follows the debate in the House of Representatives. The reporter of news website Axios is sitting right over Chairman Nancy Pelosi. โ€œThrough social media reports, I heard that office buildings were being evacuated. So we got the idea that something went wrong.โ€

Still, shes not right about the Capitol being invaded. โ€œI thought I heard rumbling, but I didnt realize that people had come into the building until a Capitol Police officer reported it through a microphone. He also said that we were not in danger and that we should remain calm.โ€

โ€œI feared for my life.โ€

โ€œ Five minutes later, the police said that the invaders were at the roundabout, which is very close to the House. Then security told Congressmen to put on gas masks. At that moment, I realized that something was really going on.โ€

Right after that, she hears banging on the door. โ€œI thought if they came in, I wouldnt survive. Yes, I feared for my life.โ€ Shes being led out of space by security. โ€œI spent two and a half hours hiding in a Congressmans office.โ€


4:00 p.m., if the storming has been going on for a couple of hours but the situation is not yet under control, video journalist Zoeann Murphy of the Washington Post begins to serve. Shes at one of the entrance doors to the Capitol. โ€œI had friends and colleagues who were inside. It was very anxious to see this happen.โ€

At the door she sees a woman reading from her phone a Trump tweet to the โ€œmad crowdโ€ around her. She repeats the text fifteen times. โ€œTrumps tweet had the idea that the police were on their side. Then the group spread. Trumps words were taken as direct instruction on what to do.โ€

For DiPaola it is clear what the TRUMP supporters are looking for. Theyre angry at Vice President Mike Pence because he refused that day to reject the election results that Trump had insisted on. โ€œThey wanted to go in and get Pence and hang him. They wanted to kill him.โ€

โ€œThey have violated a sacred place.โ€

As soon as the police with reinforcements have managed to expel the invaders, the Capitol is declared safe and the debate continues. โ€œI just started reporting again,โ€ says Goba. โ€œUntil about four oclock in the morning.โ€


6:00 p.m., a curfew is set in Washington, D.C., so the police can arrest protesters who are still on the street. But also some journalists are being arrested, including Murhphy. The police wont let her go until shes almost put on an arrest bus. โ€œAs far as police action is concerned, this was a disaster. Im still processing what happened.โ€

The day also leaves a deep impression at DiPaola. The rage of Trump supporters regularly focuses on journalists on Wednesday. โ€œThis is not a game. This is our democracy, this is our life. Journalists are under threat.โ€

โ€œ But what caused me the most emotion was the broken glass at the entrance to the Capitol. The Capitol is where everyone meets. No matter how crazy you are, you can get elected to Congress if you try hard enough and make enough money. It is that one place that is sacred to all of us, and they have violated it.โ€