Comparing Black Lives Matter protests to the Capitol riots

Editor’s note: The following is an opinion article. The opinions presented are the writer’s own and are not representative of the Trailblazer newspaper staff or of Pascack Hills High School.


Anabelle Joukhadarian

There has been ongoing conflict between Black Lives Matter supporters and Trump supporters.

The United States has seen a strong division between those who support Black Lives Matter and those who support Donald Trump. Throughout the summer and continuing through autumn and winter, people have held Black Lives Matter protests to spread awareness and disapproval on the racism that still exists in the United States today. Out of these protests, seven percent became violent.

Many Trump supporters are against these rallies, and one of their main arguments is that Black Lives Matter protests are simply excuses to burn down cities. It is incorrect to state that many or all of the protests are violent, considering that 93% were determined to have been peaceful in a study by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.


Months before the 2020 presidential election, people began to dispute over which candidate should win. Many of the Black Lives Matter supporters prefer Joe Biden over Donald Trump, so there has been great tension between the two sides. In addition, Trump propagated unfounded claims about the legitimacy of mail ballots and the election overall.

Using the seven percent of violent Black Lives Matter protests, a large number of Trump supporters painted that image of destruction over all of the rallies and people who participated in them. Knowing that many Black Lives Matter allies voted for Biden, a common saying that Trump supporters have used after losing the election is “70 million pissed off Republicans. Zero cities destroyed by them.” Trump supporters began to say this when Biden won the election, implying that Biden voters would riot if Trump was victorious. This is a hypocritical statement.

When many Trump supporters were using this saying, it was during November, meaning the election had recently ended. There have been numerous acts of violence in response to Biden winning, such as on Nov. 14 when Trump supporters rioted five blocks from the White House and stabbed a man in his 20s, injured two cops, and wounded other protesters. This is one of many examples showing the hypocrisy in calling Black Lives Matter protests destructive.

The saying about no Trump supporters acting violently was already hypocritical at the time, but its level of hypocrisy grew. Two months after the presidential election, on Jan. 6, thousands of Trump supporters raided the United States Capitol Building. During the raid, rioters smashed a fire extinguisher on an officer’s head, resulting in the officer’s death; injured at least 50 officers; placed two pipe bombs in the building; set up gallows, damaged the Capitol Building itself; and forced the entire Congress to evacuate.

Although it is true that there have been destructive Black Lives Matter protests, the Capitol Hill raid was no better. Multiple acts of violence and disloyalty to the United States were committed at the Capitol, amounting to an insurrection against the government. It is wrong for the Trump supporters who went to the Capitol to shame Black Lives Matter protesters for their behavior and then do what they originally criticized. This tells people that Trump supporters are more so against Black Lives Matter allies, not the actions that they condemn.

A freshman who preferred to stay anonymous believes that “what happened at the Capitol was really unnecessary and scary. Many people like to compare the Capitol Hill riot to [Black Lives Matter] protests as a way to justify what the Trump supporters did. It bothers me how so many people focus on the 7% of violent [Black Lives Matter] protests instead of the peaceful ones. While I do not in any way agree with the violent protests, I think that [Black Lives Matter] has a better reason to protest because it is for human rights, not just a lost election.”

No one should disregard the fact that not all Trump supporters agree with what happened at the Capitol building. Even though many disapprove of the Capitol raid, they still believe that Black Lives Matter protests are worse. While thinking that Black Lives Matter protests have been more harmful, there are the Trump supporters who acknowledge that not every protester is violent.

“I don’t agree with what happened at the Capitol raid at all. It was supposed to be peaceful, but it got out of hand. I think what happens at the [Black Lives Matter] protests is much worse, because they burn down buildings and restaurants for no reason,” stated another freshman who wished to keep their name unknown. “I am a little confused on why some Democrats are acting so appalled now when some have done much worse. I also don’t agree with what the Republicans did too, though. Although it was Republicans who did that, not every Republican agrees with what happened or was there just like the [Black Lives Matter] protests. Not every Democrat agrees with the rioting and agrees with all of the chaos that happened.”

It is agreeable that the destruction made in the violent Black Lives Matter protests often did more harm than good. On the other hand, the protests are occurring to add a voice to minorities, not to show people’s anger over the result of a legitimate democratic presidential election. Centuries’ worth of oppression is far different than a president not having a second term in office. However, it is fair to say that not every Trump supporter or every Republican sides with those who invaded the Capitol, similar to how not every Black Lives Matter ally supports the violent protests.

“Because the motives were very different, I believe that it is really unfair to compare Black Lives Matter protests to the Capitol raid,” voiced one of the anonymous freshmen.