The violent disruption of a congressional session is unlawful. These are among the most shameful images in our nation’s history.

In response to reports that supporters of President Trump have broken into the Capitol and forced Congress to suspend its validation of the results of the presidential election, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“We strongly condemn the violence that has occurred in Washington today, which has no place in a democratic system,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “It is an affront to the millions of Americans who peacefully cast ballots, as well as the poll workers who counted them in good faith and the public officials and judges who defended the results against groundless allegations of fraud. In the weeks since election day, innumerable citizens have exercised their right to assemble lawfully and expressed their views without resorting to physical force.”

“President Trump has continually called on his political allies to reject and overturn his election defeat in defiance of the law,” Abramowitz added. “Just moments before today’s violence began, the president specifically exhorted his assembled supporters to march on the Capitol and encourage Republican lawmakers to disrupt the vote-counting process. The right to peaceful protest is protected by law. Violence is not.”

“It now falls to members of Congress to unanimously denounce this effort to undermine our democracy, to complete their legal and constitutional duty by counting the Electoral College votes, and to decisively end this deeply shameful episode in our nation’s history.”