US Congress in Lockdown as Pro-Trump Protesters Breach Capitol

Published January 6th, 2021 - 07:49 GMT
 A protester holds a Trump flag inside the US Capitol Building near the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Image
A protester holds a Trump flag inside the US Capitol Building near the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP
Highlights
Pro-Trump protesters breach police line, descend on Capitol.

The U.S. Capitol went into lockdown Wednesday after scores of President Donald Trump's supporters breached a police barricade and gathered at the building's door and on the steps.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered on and around the National Mall to hear remarks by Trump, who falsely claimed he won November's presidential election "in a landslide." After his speech, some protesters clashed with police, breaking through a police line, forcing their way to the Capitol where members of Congress debated certification of the Electoral College results.

CNN reported that some protesters had made their way inside the building, walking through Statuary Hall. Congress, which had split into separate sessions to debate an objection to Arizona's electoral votes, was forced to go into recess due to the violence outside.

The Washington Post reported two nearby buildings -- the Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building and the Cannon House Office Building -- were evacuated briefly.

"I just had to evacuate my office because of a pipe bomb reported outside. Supporters of the president are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots," Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., tweeted.

"I don't recognize our country today and the members of Congress who have supported this anarchy do not deserve to represent their fellow Americans."

Trump spoke earlier during a protest rally at the Ellipse on the National Mall dubbed the "March for Trump/Save America" rally, organized by supporters who back his unsubstantiated claims that the election was "rigged" against him.

As he opened his remarks, Trump slammed the "fake news media" for not showing what called the "hundreds of thousands" of people at the event, saying, "the media is the biggest problem we have, as far as I'm concerned."

The U.S. Park police told NPR that permits for the rally had been approved and amended by its organizers to increase the capacity from 5,000 to 30,000 people.


The crowd roared its approval as Trump went on to claim he will never concede his loss to Biden because "you don't concede when there's theft involved. We won this election, and we won it by a landslide. This was not a close election."

He also condemned what he called "weak Republicans" who have not backed his attempts to overturn the results of the election.

"Now it's amazing," the said, "the weak Republicans, the pathetic Republicans, and that's what happens."

Thousands of the president's supporters had packed the National Mall by mid-morning Wednesday, gathering between the Washington Monument and the Ellipse for a second day of protests calling for Biden's victory to be nullified.

They warned each other that anti-fascist militants and Black Lives Matter members were infiltrating their ranks, The Washington Post reported.

D.C. police said they made at least six arrests during the first day of protests Tuesday, including several that were weapons-related. Charges included illegally carrying firearms and possession of unregistered ammunition.

After Tuesday's official events ended, protesters stayed on the streets until late into the night. Social media videos showed some clashing with police -- authorities said several protesters were charged with assaulting a police officer and simple assault.

Trump on Tuesday praised the protesters in a series of tweets, repeating unfounded claims that the presidential election had been "stolen" from him.

"Washington is being inundated with people who don't want to see an election victory stolen by emboldened Radical Left Democrats. Our Country has had enough, they won't take it anymore! We hear you (and love you) from the Oval Office. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" Trump wrote.

He also falsely claimed on Twitter that Vice President Mike Pence has the power to "reject fraudulently chosen electors."

The National Guard was mobilized and every police officer in the District of Columbia was put on duty to handle the protests.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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