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Parkersburg man shares experience from U.S. Capitol

People scale a wall at the U.S. Capitol during Wednesday’s riot. (Photo provided by Eric Barber)

PARKERSBURG — A former Parkersburg City Councilman was close to Wednesday’s chaos at the U.S. Capitol.

Eric Barber said he was in Washington, D.C., to attend a rally in support of President Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. While Barber said he believes there was interference and perhaps outright fraud in the election, he thought Wednesday’s violence went too far.

“I don’t think it should have been done, but I understand why people are angry,” he said.

“That was … little better than what Antifa does,” Barber said. “And then Trump Nation failed when they were supposed to abide by a set of principles that does not include riotous behavior.”

According to the Associated Press, during the rally, Trump urged supporters to march to the Capitol, saying, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore. … Let the weak ones get out … This is a time for strength.”

Protesters head for a door at the U.S. Capitol during Wednesday’s violent protest. (Photo provided by Eric Barber)

Barber said protesters made their way through the main streets of Washington and headed toward the Capitol. He walked along and said the atmosphere seemed to shift at the Capitol.

“The mood had switched from like patriotic fervor to animosity and hostility,” he said.

Barber said there were already people on the Capitol steps when he arrived. He said he went up the steps and saw some climbing the walls. Barber said he did not initially see Capitol Police officers cracking down on the advancing group.

“It took ’em a while before they started responding with force,” he said.

While he said he looked in a window and couldn’t see much because of so many people inside, Barber said he did not enter the building.

Protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol during Wednesday, when rioting disrupted the Congressional effort to count and certify the electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election. (Photo provided by Eric Barber)

Barber was elected to council in 2016 as a Democrat but changed his affiliation to independent, and later Republican. He lost his bid for re-election in November to Democrat Wendy Tuck.

Barber drew criticism for his social media posts about political issues, including a reference to coat hangers on the eve of then-Supreme Court nominee and now Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Accused of making an insensitive remark about back-alley abortions, Barber said it was the result of having a coat hanger thrown at him by someone protesting Kavanaugh’s nomination during a previous visit to Washington.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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