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'A dark day in American history' - Mayor Provenzano on Capitol riot

Michigan Sault mayor declines comment. He's an employee of the federal government's executive branch, so Donald Trump is ultimately his boss
20161202 Mayor Christian Provenzano Silhouette KA
File photo of Mayor Christian Provenzano

Wednesday's riot at the U.S. Capitol building is being described as "stunning" but "largely not surprising" by Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano.

"The events in Washington are very concerning and a sober reminder to all of us that we can’t take our democratic system of governance for granted," Provenzano tells SooToday.

"It is only as strong as our active participation in it and, most importantly, our collective respect for it."

"While today will be remembered as a dark day in American history, the U.S. has time and again met and overcome significant challenges."

"I’m hopeful that under the leadership of President Biden, it will again," Provenzano said.

Across the river, Michigan Sault Mayor Don Gerrie was holding back his feelings about the situation, in part because his day job is with the executive branch of the federal government, ultimately headed by Donald J. Trump.

"As a small-city mayor we are non-partisan," Mayor Gerrie tells SooToday.

"I try to stay free of any non-local political commentary in the media."

"I am also an employee of an executive branch agency of the federal government so tend to especially shy away from official comments that can be construed as supportive or detrimental of the president."

Gerrie is area director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s rural development office on Ashmun Street.

USDA is part of the federal government's executive branch, which is ultimately headed by President Donald Trump.

Protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday as Congress was meeting to confirm Joe Biden's electoral college victory.

One person was shot dead.

The Capitol has since been secured and the U.S. Senate is continuing its session to confirm the Biden electoral victory.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded on Twitter: "Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the U.S. must be upheld - and it will be."

"Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress," tweeted Boris Johnson, prime minister of the United Kingdom.

"The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power," Johnson said.

Both Twitter and Facebook have locked President Trump's accounts after he posted a video that repeated allegations about election fraud and added: "We can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You're very special."

News reports quoted former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney as criticizing the president for allegedly inciting the violent protests.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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