The “walis tambo” or the soft broom usually part of typical Filipino households earned online buzz after some local social media users noticed its appearance when supporters of outgoing US President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol.
A certain picture credited to Saul Loeb of Agence France-Presse via Getty Images showed an individual holding the object with a raised arm. It is attached to an improvised shield inspired by Marvel’s Captain America.
A closer look at the shield reveals the word “coup” was written on the surface. It is equated to the words “pandemic hoax, false media, extremist groups and mail-in fraud,” which are all associated to Trump’s stance.
It is unknown whether the supporter is a Filipino or not.
Meanwhile, the image circulated on local Twitter at the same time that keywords related to the riot reached the microblogging platform’s top trending list for the Philippines Thursday morning.
It's mob rule as supporters of Donald Trump swarmed inside the US Congress building and rampaged through offices. At least one person was shot and wounded, an emergency responder said, with lawmakers evacuated and handed gas masks as police fired tear gas.
— Philstar.com (@PhilstarNews) January 7, 2021
National Union Journalist of the Philippines chair Nonoy Espina shared a bigger version of the image and posted his own thoughts as well.
Surreal photo by AFP's Saul Loeb. Now, who else would bring a walis tambo and wear an upside down flag to a riot? pic.twitter.com/q2xvSuC2eY
— nonoy espina (@EspinaNonoy) January 7, 2021
Another Twitter user commented that the image showed the “desecration of the walis tambo.”
“You are a shame to us, you drop that prideful instrument of PH (Philippines) identity down,” wrote a different Filipino in response to the image of the Trump supporter.
An editor who also describes herself as a writer of “diasporic Filipino restaurants” also noticed the iconic broom in Filipino households.
— Jennifer Fergesen (@jenniferferges1) January 6, 2021
Other Filipinos quipped that the broom could’ve been from Baguio, known for selling the particular variety generally used indoors.
— Miss Maggie (@MiaMagdalena) January 7, 2021
Galing pa sa Baguio ang walis tambo? https://t.co/puFiPfUn2v
— Dave Llorito (@Rainwalker19) January 7, 2021
A “walis tambo” is a soft broom typically used by Filipinos to sweep dirt and dust off the floors in households. It is usually made of phragmites grass and attached to wooden or woven handles.
The particular broom is best used on soft floors.
Its outdoor variant is the “walis tingting,” similar to the Western-style stick brooms used to dust leaves and other dirt outside houses and buildings.
The US Capitol siege
Reports said that hundreds of Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol on Thursday in a bid to overturn his election defeat as the nation’s Congress hold a formal session to affirm the presidential win of Joe Biden.
A little more than an hour after the session began, the building went into lockdown as rioters breached security and stormed inside to express defiance on the lawmakers’ affirmation of the president-elect 14 days before the inauguration.
The US House of Representatives was supposed to certify Biden’s Electoral College victory when Trump’s supporters called for the overturn of the 2020 election results.
Prior to this, Trump had called on Congress and Vice President Mike Pence to “stop the steal,” which refers to the certification of Biden’s win.
“We will never give up! We will never concede!” Trump said during a campaign-funded rally on Wednesday.
He has refused to concede the election last November, alleging that a fraud happened without providing evidence.
Meanwhile, Congress has resumed its certification of Biden’s win after the riots. This will make him the 46th president of the United States.