The United States Capitol has been placed on lockdown after thousands of Donald Trump’s supporters went and stormed through the building at the president’s instruction. The group of supporters rioted, broke through police barricades, and breached the entrance of the Capitol. This has caused a lockdown in Congress while it was certifying the results of the recent presidential elections.
Chaos ensued at the Capitol on Wednesday morning. Rioters waved flags and banners supporting trump. The group clashed with law enforcement officials head-on, with the latter seemingly unprepared for the crowd of people.
According to members of Congress, tear gas was dispersed inside of the building and they were asked to use the gas masks provided to them, which are found below their chairs. However, since cell phones are not allowed inside the Senate chamber, most of the legislators inside probably had no idea of the chaos happening just outside the room prior to the Capitol lockdown.
Amidst the chaos, a woman was shot by a law enforcement officer inside the Capitol building. The woman later died, as confirmed by several police officers in the area.
Additionally, the police have found improvised explosive devices within the Capitol grounds. Also, law enforcement found several weapons within the complex. The police have also made around 13 arrests.
In response to the riot and the violence that came along with it, Washington DC’s Mayor, Muriel Bowser, put a 6 p.m. curfew in place.
Capitol Goes On Lockdown
As per pool reports, at around 2:15 p.m. local time, both chambers of Congress went to recess. During this time, Capitol Police locked the doors so that they can leave the House gallery.
Meanwhile, around 200 people were locked in the Senate chamber. Also, a law enforcement officer “with an orange POLICE badge across his chest appeared on the floor with what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon.” The officer reportedly stood between Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.
The Police started evacuating members of Congress from the building at around 2:40 p.m. local time. The boxes holding the Electoral Collage certificates were being carried by the Senate parliamentarian before the evacuation, as per pool reports
Videos and images of the supporters at the Capitol are circulating over social media. In the same platforms, lawmakers who were in the building share their reactions.
Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia posted on Twitter, saying “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.”
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. (2/2)
— Rep. Elaine Luria (@RepElaineLuria) January 6, 2021
Meanwhile, Rep. Hayley Stevens also posted on Twitter, saying she took shelter in her office while the people in the next building evacuate. She also said “I can’t believe I have to write this,” expressing shock at what has happened at the Capitol today.
I’m sheltering in place in my office. The building next door has been evacuated. I can’t believe I have to write this.
— Rep. Haley Stevens (@RepHaleyStevens) January 6, 2021
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also went on to Fox News about what went on inside the Capitol during the lockdown. He mentioned that shots had been fired and described the riot as “un-American.” He said, “We can disagree but we should not take it to this level. … You do not do what is happening right now. People are being hurt. This is unacceptable.”
On the other hand, in a joint statement, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Trump to ask his supporters to “leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately.”
Trump Mobilizes the National Guard
Soon after, Trump mobilized the National Guard to go to the Capitol and help control the situation as the police had asked for assistance.
On Twitter, the president said: “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
In another tweet, he added: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order — respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
Trump Urged Supporters
Just hours prior to the breach, President Trump asked his supporters to “peacefully” go to the Capitol building. He urged them by claiming that the Democratic party was trying to steal the elections.
While his supporters gathered in front of the White House, the president said: “Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated. Lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building. To peacefully, patriotically make your voices heard.”
Under Trump’s request, the president’s supporters gathered at Washington on Wednesday. They came just hours before Congress met to certify Biden’s win. Last Dec. 18, Trump told his supporters on Twitter: “Will be wild.”
Peter Navarro releases 36-page report alleging election fraud 'more than sufficient' to swing victory to Trump https://t.co/D8KrMHnFdK. A great report by Peter. Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2020