Politics

Levan Vasadze’s disinforming and misleading statements about the Capitol storming

14 January, 2021

On 9 January, in an interview to Alt-Info, businessman Levan Vasadze discussed recent events in the United States of America, in particular, the storming of the Capitol building, and declared that members of Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa were among the rioters. Alleging that a segment of police officers removed metal barriers and encouraged demonstrators to break into the Capitol, Vasadze went on to speculate that the process was provoked against Trump with the aim to escalate confrontation.

Allegation that the police opened the door to rioters to let them pass was reiterated by Alt-Info on 11 January, which also showed a video as evidence.

The information spread by Levan Vasadze that the police removed metal barriers and opened the door to let the rioters freely pass toward the Capitol is wrong. Separate fragments of the video showing how rioters break into, first, the outer territory and then, the building of the Capitol are misleading because they do not show initial footage showing how rioters breach barricades and stormed the building. Another statement of Vasadze that rioters included members of BLM and Antifa was not supported by any evidence.

How did events unfold?

On 6 January, supporters of Donald Trump gathered in Washington to voice protest against a process of presidential election certification. The protest rally was underway at 12 p.m. when President Donald Trump addressed the rally and asked his supporters to walk down to the Capitol to “show strength.” As seen from videos posted on social media by users, including Trump supporters, barriers were first breached in northwest side of the Capitol at 12:53 p.m. The video shows a violent group pushing back police officers along the outer perimeter of the building and breaking through metal barriers.

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Confrontation with the police continued in the west side of the Capitol and despite the resistance from police, protesters succeeded in entering the territory of the Capitol and approaching the building. At around 2 p.m., the situation was similar at the east side of the Capitol, which was guarded by a notably smaller group of police officers.

The video that was used manipulatively was filmed at the northwest entrance of the Capitol: the video shows protesters breaking into the outer territory of the Capitol where police backed off. The video was published at 1:58 (EST). As the New York Times reported, barriers were removed after a violent confrontation took place between rioters and police officers. A fact-checking website, PolitiFact, reached out a person who shot the video, who told PolitiFact that the police officers backed off because they were outnumbered by the rioters and were not able to contain them. Thus, protesters freely moved onto the grounds of the Capitol after the situation got out of control.

At 2:10 o’clock, barricades on the west and east entrances of the Capitol, including the last barricade, were broken through.

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Source:The New York Times

At around 2:11 – 2:15, protesters broke into the building. The New York Times as well as the Bellingcat have uploaded a set of videos posted by Internet users, which show (from 8:07 minute) how demonstrators are breaking the door and windows of the Capitol to get into the building. Bellingcat collected videos of violent rioters from a far-right platform, Parler, which has a significant user base of Donald Trump supporters.

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Source: The New York Times

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As regards the video screened by Alt-Info on 11 January, it shows rioters entering the building through already opened door and the security guard offering no resistance to them. The exact time of filming of this video is unknown as well as the events that preceded it; the footage just shows the door that is already open.

The protest was violent and the process became unruly after the police lost control over it. This failure of the police was criticized by members of the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as civil society. According to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, the Capitol Police acted bravely and they deserved gratitude, but there was a failure of leadership at the top of the Capitol Police. Investigation has already been launched into the failure to ensure a proper protection of the perimeter of the building.

Did BLM and Antifa members participate in the storming of the Capitol?

As regards the second statement of Vasadze that members of the BLM and Antifa participated in the protest, there is no evidence that could support it. Photos that have been released by various sources so far suggest links to QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory group supporting Trump, not the BLM. For details on this topic, see the publication of Myth Detector:


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