Home   Folkestone   News   Article

Trump protest: Folkestone producer for ITV News witnessed mob storming Congress

By Sophie Alexander

Photos of a pro-Trump mob storming Congress last week shocked the world.

Sophie Alexander snapped this picture of the riots last week. Picture: Sophie Alexander
Sophie Alexander snapped this picture of the riots last week. Picture: Sophie Alexander

The protest took place as members were voting to certify the election result which will see Joe Biden take over as president of the United States from Donald Trump.

Mr Trump has been accused of "incitement of insurrection" in relation to the riots. He could now be removed from office, just days before Mr Biden is due to take over, with House Democrats lining up a vote to impeach him.

But while many of us saw what was happening on the news or social media, producer Sophie Alexander, who grew up in Folkestone, witnessed it first hand.

She was covering the riots in her role as a producer for ITV news team covering the unfolding events

In her own words, she tells KentOnline what she saw as thousands of people invaded the US Capitol building.

"It was a far cry from pounding the streets of Folkestone asking shoppers about voting in the local election.

ITV News producer Sophie Alexander
ITV News producer Sophie Alexander

But eight years on I found myself at the heart of an historical moment - part of the only broadcast team in the world to follow rioters as they stormed the US Capitol building in Washington DC.

I had been working in DC for a year, covering the Trump Presidency and knew it was only a matter of time before his ardent supporters grew violent.

Yet no one could have expected to see the scenes we witnessed - a baying mob scaling walls, climbing the inauguration stage and with screams of pure fury, hijacking the nation's Capitol.

Police in close proximity fired tear gas into the crowd but it made no difference, they were woefully outnumbered.

Cameraman Mark Davey, correspondent Robert Moore and I followed the rioters as they smashed down doors and broke windows to enter the historic building.

Once inside, chants of “our house” and “stop the steal” rang through the chambers as more rioters flooded through open doors, police incapable of stopping them.

The noise was immense, alarms ringing, the mob screaming and banging on doors and the sound of more tear gas and rubber bullets being fired outside.

“They work for us,” one man in a MAGA hat told us. “They don't get to steal it from us.”

As we entered the rotunda, tempers calmed and turned to jubilation.

The rioters posed for selfies and smoked cigarettes, enjoying an unconventional and unlawful party.

About 10 officers just watched from the edge of the room, aware their total lack of man-power rendered them useless.

Journalists are no stranger to aggression from Trump supporters and we regularly hear chants of “fake news” while going about our reporting.

We encountered one particularly dicey moment, when a crowd of furious men in camo wielding heavy wooden staffs encircled us, demanding to know which outlet we were from.

Once we told them we were from British TV, interest waned. We followed the group down a corridor where chants of “Pelosi, Pelosi, Pelosi” could be heard.

The mob having found the office of the Speaker of the House and in a gleeful moment ripped her name plaque from above the door, posing with it shattered into pieces.

The violence and chaos continued, before the National Guard finally formed ranks. Rioters were pepper sprayed in the face and hit with batons in a large-scale effort to clear the building.

After getting pushed to the ground and out of the room by the National Guard we decided to call it and managed to push our way out into the fresh air.

As we left, rioters were still making their way into the building. They took control for a full three hours, the first time anyone has stormed the Capitol since 1814."

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More