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Local expert says riot at U.S. Capitol not considered a coup

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A local professor who is well-versed in the history of coups, says the riot at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday was not a legitimate attempt to overthrow power, but instead a protest that turned violent.

Posted: Jan 8, 2021 5:47 PM
Updated: Jan 8, 2021 6:10 PM

A local professor who is well-versed in the history of coups, says the riot at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday was not a legitimate attempt to overthrow power, but instead a protest that turned violent.

Erica DeBruin is an assistant professor of government at Hamilton College in Clinton, and has been studying coups for more than a decade.

The New York Times and Washington Post both sought her expert opinion on the subject after this week’s events.

“Coups attempts are violent efforts to seize executive power in a country. They usually are trying to unseat the sitting executive -- to remove someone from office rather than keep someone in power, and they're also staged from within the state,” she said. “And so, it's usually members of the military or security forces themselves because those are the ones who actually have the power to coerce an executive out of office.”

DeBruin is also the author of “How to Prevent Coups D’Etat: Counterbalancing and Regime Survival.” You can purchase the book here.

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