Bermudians describe shocking scenes in Washington
Bermudians in Washington yesterday described their shock at seeing the United States capital engulfed in chaos as supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol Building.
At least one woman was killed in the chaos, which disrupted the certification of Electoral Congress votes for president-elect Joe Biden.
Davon Adams, a Bermudian nurse based in Washington, said: “I could feel the tension in the air starting Tuesday evening headed home on the train.
“Protesters were out as early as 7am around the Capitol Building as I made my way into the hospital.
“Small pockets of Trump supporters were on almost every city block. Currently people are just unsure how this will unfold. Everyone is on standby.”
He said that most residents were following the story from the safety of their homes as it unfolded.
Mr Adams said: “A lot of people are in a state of disbelief. I keep hearing over and over ’Where are the police?’
“What is surreal is we can look out of the window and still see Trump supporters with flags walking the streets.
“This isn’t something that’s far away, it’s 100 feet away.”
Mr Adams, a nurse treating Covid-19 patients in a Washington hospital, was featured in The Royal Gazette last week after he became one of the first Bermudians to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
In a tweet last night he said: “As the city burns in flames outside … I’m inside still fighting #COVID …”
Mr Adams noted that a 6pm curfew was put in place in advance of what some feared would be a night of violence.
He said: “Most people were expecting this, I would say. Friends, and co-workers have been talking about it for the past few days.
“I think what heightened the tension was the results of the Georgia election.”
The run-off election in Georgia saw Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff challenge Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
While the counting of votes was still ongoing last night, media outlets had declared Mr Warnock and Mr Ossoff victorious.
A victory by both Democrats would give control of the Senate to the party.
One Congressman who has close links with Bermuda was able to post a Twitter message during the chaos.
Congressman G.K. Butterfield, whose father was Bermudian, wrote: “I am safe and monitoring the violent uprising that is ongoing at the US Capitol complex. Please pray for our country.”
Vakeisha Rhoden, a former office manager when Bermuda maintained an office in Washington, spoke to The Royal Gazette as the National Guard was called out, said: “There’s lots of sirens that can be heard.”
Ms Rhoden said she had worked from home since the onset of the pandemic.
She described a city in tension with “most businesses boarded up” and the public advised to keep out of the city.
Trump supporters descended on the capital to attend a rally where the President spoke before marching on the Capitol.
Another Bermudian living in the city said residents had been fearful that events could escalate for several days.
Monty Nearon, a retired banker who lives on the outskirts of the city, said many businesses had boarded up their premises ahead of the rally.
“Even before today, we were given warnings to stay out of DC as much as possible, and some businesses had already closed yesterday,” Mr Nearon said. “I’ve stayed indoors and been taking my cues from the local television news.
“What’s disappointing to me is that the current administration appears to be provoking this sort of action.
“When we had the Black Lives Matter protests last year, there was a very heavy police presence. Getting even anywhere close to the Capitol can be a challenge, and yet today we had protesters actually able to get inside. Unbelievable.
“But we have a curfew in place and so hopefully things will quieten down tonight.”
Bradley Kading, a former president of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, described the scenes as “disgusting and horrifying”.
“It’s a pretty embarrassing blot on our democratic record,” said Mr Kading, who lives about a mile from Capitol Hill, and represented Bermuda’s insurance industry in the halls of Congress for many years.
“These protesters or rioters were bused in over the last few days so we knew that there was going to be a large number of people here. The question is, where do they go tonight and when are they going to leave.
“I was out walking my dog earlier this evening and thankfully things seemed pretty quiet. I think they have created a safe zone around the building.”