Pope Francis, speaking of U.S. Capitol assault, condemns people working against democracy

Europe News

Reuters Staff

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Saturday people working against democracy must be condemned whoever they are, and lessons should be learned from this week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump leave the Capitol building after being tear gassed during a "Stop the Steal" protest outside of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. U.S. January 6, 2021. Picture taken January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer on Epiphany, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Vatican, January 6, 2021. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS

Rioters surged into the building on Wednesday after Trump urged them to go the Capitol and press his baseless claims that he won re-election in November. Five people including a police officer died in the ensuing chaos.

“I was astonished because they are people so disciplined in democracy,” the pontiff told Italy’s Canale 5 news channel in his first public comments on the events.

“There is always something that isn’t working … (with) people taking a path against the community, against democracy, against the common good,” the pope said.

“Thank God that this has burst into the open and is clear to see well, because like this you can put it right,” Francis said, adding: “Yes, this must be condemned, this movement, no matter who is involved in it.”

He said violence could flare anywhere and it was important to understand what had gone wrong and to learn from history.

“(Fringe) groups that are not well inserted into society sooner or later will commit this sort of violence,” he said.