Pro-Donald Trump rioters, upset at the outcome of the presidential election, stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday as Congress met to tally the electoral votes that certify Joe Biden’s election as president.
Protesters overwhelmed US Capitol police outside and numerous people breached security and entered the Capitol building, creating a scene of chaos and causing members of Congress to flee the House and Senate chambers to be safely locked down in their offices while some were evacuated elsewhere.
While Senators were debating an objection to Arizona’s electoral votes raised by Republican Trump supporters, debate was halted when word came that protesters were in the hall outside of the Senate chamber.
There were reports of guns drawn inside the House chamber as security tried to keep the rioters at bay after they caused damage to the Capitol building.
As the protests escalated, Trump first tweeted more criticism of his vice president, Mike Pence, who was presiding over the congressional vote tally, then urged his supporters to “Stay peaceful!” a request that did not seem to be heeded.
The attempted coup, as many American politicians and worldwide observers called the storming of the US Capitol, also saw violence erupt with reports from CNN citing multiple sources that a few officers were injured and at least one was transported to hospital.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump in a now-deleted tweet called the rioters “American Patriots” as she urged them that “the violence must stop immediately”.
Pence was taken to a secure location when the protesters entered the US Capitol and later tweeted that “peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.
Incoming president Biden then addressed the US a few hours after the storming and called it “an assault on the rule of law” and labelling the rioters a “small number of extremists”.
As he was leaving the stage, Biden turned around and said that he was not worried about his safety and security nor that of the January 20 inauguration. He also called on Trump to address the people of the nation on TV “now”, condemn the pro-Trump rioters and calm the situation because “enough is enough, is enough”.
“President Trump: Step up,” Biden said as he ended his address.
In a video posted on Twitter minutes after Biden's speech, Trump told his armed rioters to "go home in peace. We love you. You are very special."
He also said that "this was a fraudulent election".
- Al Jazeera, BBC, CNN