A War Photographer Embeds With the Capitol Hill Mob
Ron Haviv, who once covered a coup attempt in Panama, followed rioters through a broken window into the seat of his own nation’s legislative branch.
For more than three decades, photojournalist Ron Haviv has covered wars and unrest across five continents. One of his first international assignments was covering the 1989 coup attempt in Panama.* So when he watched President Trump order his fever-pitch mob of supporters to “walk down to the Capitol” on Wednesday to somehow correct the “egregious assault on our democracy” involved in counting and certifying votes, Haviv could gauge better than most what might happen next.
“I kind of did imagine that if everything went wrong, I could see them getting into the Capitol,” he told me by phone Wednesday evening. “But I didn’t see it being as easy as it turned out to be. Why would you think that? It just seems ridiculous. This is the United States government.”
But it took only an hour or so for rioters answering the call of their mad overlord to push past #Capitol Police and start ramming their way into the building. Haviv spotted a group of a dozen or so climbing the scaffolding of the inaugural stand being built for January 20, and heading toward a window. “I went with the moment,” he said, and climbed in with them. “The scaffolding was all the protection there was. They were getting pepper-sprayed and some flash bombs, but that didn’t really stop them.”