US has been thrown into high tension as Trump supporters and Police clash during a handover procession at the US Capitol.
The presidential handover collapsed into chaos on Wednesday as an angry mob of Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol.
In unprecedented scenes the building was locked down with lawmakers inside as Donald Trump supporters clashed with police, broke through barricades and entered the building.
As a mob of Trump supporters entered the building, people working inside were ordered by local safety officials to shelter in their offices. Shots were fired and a woman was shot and died, although the details were not immediately clear. The national guard was called to help to secure the Capitol.
After breaching barriers Trump supporters were seen walking through the building, waving flags and clashing violently with security. One posted pictures purportedly from the House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office where her quickly abandoned laptop appeared to be still on, others took selfies inside the Senate chamber.
Pro-Trump mob storm Capitol as lawmakers meet to certify Biden’s win – video
Members of Congress were told to don gas masks after teargas was deployed inside the building. Outside the building hundreds of supporters barged through police lines and took over the steps of the Capitol. Video showed injured police officers and violent tussles as they stormed the building.
The move meant that the Senate and the House of Representatives both recessed their debates over congressional certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory over Trump in November’s presidential election.
Local media reported that Mike Pence was ushered out of the Senate and taken to a secure location. The Senate doors were closed and locked, and senators told to stay away from the doors and then evacuated.
Trump, and his allies, have baselessly floated conspiracy theories that the election was somehow fraudulently won by the Biden, though there is no evidence to support this. At a rally before the riot began Trump falsely told supporters once more that the election had been rigged, referring to the counting of ballots in the 2020 election as “explosions of bullshit”.
“We will never give up, we will never concede. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved,” Trump said.
People shelter in the House gallery as pro-Trump mob try to break into the House Chamber at the US Capitol on Wednesday.
People shelter in the House gallery as pro-Trump mob try to break into the House Chamber at the US Capitol on Wednesday. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP
Earlier Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, had called for a “trial by combat” accusing Democrats of hiding evidence of malfeasance. “Who hides evidence? Criminals hide evidence. Not honest people,” he told the crowd.
After Trump’s speech protesters marched towards the Capitol chanting: “Whose Capitol? Our Capitol.”
The mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, ordered a curfew in America’s capital city that was set to begin at 6pm local time.
The process that the protests halted was the certification of the electoral college vote which is typically a ceremonial – and largely perfunctory – affair. However, a group of Republican lawmakers – spurred on by Trump – are trying to turn the usually routine debate into Trump’s last stand and an attempt to reverse his election defeat.
President-elect Joe Biden denounced the violence at the Capitol. “At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault, unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” he said.
Trump, who still has not conceded that he lost the election, has spent the last several weeks attempting to pressure public officials to overturn Biden’s 306-232 election win.
As the situation worsened Republicans and Democrats called on Trump to tell his supporters to go home. “The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now,” Pence wrote on Twitter.
Trump tweeted: “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!”
Ten minutes earlier he had attacked the vice-president for not having “the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution”, and backing his attempt to usurp the election results.
In a video Trump called on his supporters to go home but falsely claimed once more that the election had been “stolen”. “I know your pain, I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” he said. “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. Go home. We love you. You are very special.”