Pro-Trump Protesters Storm US Capitol as Lawmakers Gather to Count Electoral Votes (Updated)
Supporters of President Donald Trump have breached the US Capitol as lawmakers count the Electoral College votes certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
Shortly after 1 p.m. ET hundreds of pro-Trump protesters pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol, where they tussled with officers in full riot gear, some calling the officers “traitors” for doing their jobs. About 90 minutes later, police said demonstrators got into the building and the doors to the House and Senate were being locked. Shortly after, the House floor was evacuated by police.
Vice President Mike Pence was also evacuated from Capitol, where he was to perform his role in the counting of electoral votes.
Video from inside the Capitol showed Trump supporters marching through Statuary Hall. The US Capitol Police is asking for additional law enforcement for assistance, including federal authorities, per a source familiar.
The source says there are several suspicious devices outside the Capitol building.
The Capitol police officer in the House chamber told lawmakers that they may need to duck under their chairs and informed lawmakers that protesters were in the building’s Rotunda.
While the White House refused to comment on the protests, Trump said on Twitter, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
The protesters have breached exterior security barriers, and video footage shows protesters gathering and some clashing with police near the Capitol building. CNN’s team on the ground saw a number of protestors trying to go up the side of the Capitol building. Several loud flash bangs have been heard.
Protesters could be seen pushing against metal fences and police using the fences to push protesters back, while other officers reached over the top to club people trying to cross their lines.
Flash bangs could be heard near the steps of the Capitol as smoke filled the air. In some instances officers could be seen deploying pepper spray. Tear gas has been deployed, but it’s not clear whether by protesters or police, and people wiped tears from their eyes while coughing.
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser just announced a citywide curfew from 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday until 6 a.m. ET Thursday.
Via Twitter, Trump said, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
Later, Trump urged supporters to keep peaceful, saying: “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”