The mayors of Atlanta and Sandy Springs condemned the chaos in Washington, D.C. Jan. 6 where rioters supporting President Trump assaulted the U.S. Capitol. Atlanta residents were asked to stay home that evening, though there was not an official curfew.

“America is stronger than any one man,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, while Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul called it “one of the darkest days in American history.”

The attack on the Capitol disrupted the counting of the Electoral College vote that will award the presidency to Joe Biden. Trump has challenged his loss with a variety of conspiracy theories about supposed fraud in Georgia and elsewhere.

The U.S. Capitol attack came the day after a dramatic Georgia runoff election where Democratic challengers are projected to unseat Republican incumbents in the state’s two U.S. Senate seats. As the attack continued in Washington, a group of pro-Trump protesters gathered outside the Georgia Capitol, reportedly causing Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — a major target of Trump’s wrath — and his staff members to leave the building as a safety precaution. The Georgia Department of Public Safety, which is responsible for government security, says there were no incidents reported there or at the Governor’s Mansion in Buckhead.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Bottoms, a Democrat, said in a written statement that she was not declaring a curfew Jan. 6, but that “I ask all Atlantans, out of an abundance of caution, to please stay home this evening.”

“Millions of Georgians cast their ballots … yesterday because of their belief in our democracy,” Bottoms said. “While there are moments in our country’s history in which we may falter, we will not fail. America is stronger than any one man.”

Paul, a former chair of the Georgia Republican Party, also expressed concern about an attack on democracy.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul.

“This is one of the darkest days in American history,” Paul said in a written statement. “For almost 250 years, we have prided ourselves on the peaceful transfer of power from party to party, administration to administration. Whether we liked or agreed with the outcome of each election, we have accepted the result and moved on.

“Sadly, we have leaders who have decided to step outside that tradition, advocate for an extralegal overturning of the legitimate decision of the American people, and appeal to a small minority bent on violence to disrupt one of the most important aspects of that transfer of power,” Paul continued. “It is appropriate to be disappointed or even disagree with the election’s result even as we accept the outcome. But to disrupt the most basic American democratic and constitutional processes is outrageous. It serves only to undermine a cherished system of government and cheer those in the world who wish us ill.”

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.