Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol Building today, Wednesday, January 6th, in a chaotic riot aimed to thwart a peaceful transfer of power, forcing lawmakers to be evacuated from the building and interrupting the count of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College Victory.
Written by: Ashley Creech, Editor-in-Chief
On Wednesday morning, thousands of Trump supporters flooded Washington D.C. between the Washington Monument and the Ellipse to hear Trump speak.
“We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved,” Trump said, falsely claiming that Biden’s victory was based on fraudulent vote counts. “We won this election, and we won it by a landslide. This was not a close election.”
By 10 a.m. EST, several hundred had gathered outside the Capitol, lining up by the metal barricades guarded by Capitol police ahead of the Congress meeting to certify that Biden won the election.
As of 1:55 p.m. EST, the U.S. Capitol Police evacuated some congressional office buildings due to “police activity” as thousands began to gather outside the Capitol. Not too long after, the senate recessed its debate over an objection to the results of the Electoral College after the building was forced to lock down.
As of 2:30 p.m. EST, Trump supporters breached the Capitol Building and the electoral count was suspended and lawmakers were evacuated. The pro-Trump mob scaled walls, knocked over barriers, and those that breached the building were seen marching through the Capitol’s stately Statuary Hall shouting and waving Trump banners and American flags.
The rioters made their way into the Senate chamber yelling that Trump had won the election and many were still roaming the halls yelling “Where are they?” and sat at the dais of the Senate.
Scenes are circulating online of Pro-Trump rioters storming Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s august suite of offices, flipping over tables and pulling photos off the walls. In the basement “crypt” of the Capitol, hundreds of Trump supporters shouted, “U-S-A, U-S-A.”
Members of congress still inside the House chamber were told by police to put on gas masks that were located under their seats as tear gas was dispersed in the Capitol Rotunda.
One person was shot inside the Capitol and the exact circumstances surrounding the shooting were unclear. The victim has been taken to a hospital and has since died. The woman has not been identified and no information has been released about who may have shot her.
These unprecedented events came after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud. Trump is encouraging supporters occupying the U.S. Capitol to “remain peaceful,” on Twitter but he is not calling for them to disperse.
Trump did not ask his supporters to vacate the area as the unrest continued until a video was posted on Twitter hours later. Trump told his supporters “You have to go home now,” and said that “we have to have peace.” He also spent a large portion of the video falsely claiming that the election was fraudulent.
Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, addressed Trump supporters in a tweet, calling them the “patriots challenging the fraudulent election” and telling them that ”POTUS wants you to EXPRESS YOUR OPINION PEACEFULLY.”
Vice President Mike Pence is calling on those to leave the Capitol immediately, going further than Trump who merely called for his supporters to “remain peaceful.” In a tweet, Pence said, “This attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Biden in Wilmington, Delaware is urging peace. “At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault, unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times.”
The Army activated the entire D.C. National Guard and Virginia’s governor has dispatched members of the Virginia Guard and State Troopers. As of 4:30 p.m. EST, a column of F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security agents in riot gear entered the Dirksen Senate Office building, and officers from Washington’s police force headed to the Capitol.
Lawmakers said they’re prepared to meet again as soon as the Capitol is cleared. A citywide curfew went into effect in Washington, D.C., at 6 p.m EST. Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies are outside the Capitol complex, but only 13 arrests have been made at this time.
According to the New York Times, the storming of Capitol Hill was organized on social media, where calls for violence against members of Congress and for pro-Trump movements to retake the Capitol building have been circulating online for months.
This is an ongoing story.
Below are pictures from Associated Press: