An angry mob of thousands of pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, prompting a lockdown and forcing House and Senate lawmakers as well as Vice President Mike Pence to hastily flee.
Members of QAnon, the Proud Boys, and various far-right militias managed to breach the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. following a brief siege that saw federal police melt away in the face of the angry throngs of protesters. The militant tactics of the protesters makes good on the outgoing president’s promises of a “wild” rally.
Mobs of protesters roamed through the halls, snapping photos while breaking into the offices of lawmakers. One man puffed on cannabis in a room, while other men could be seen taking framed photos. One man in a leather jacket tore apart a scroll with Chinese characters, reports New York Times.
Some protesters even managed to invade the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose staff left so hastily that their computers were left on with open emails still on-screen, according to a tweet from The Blaze journalist Elijah Schaffer.
The protesters ripped photos from Speaker Pelosi’s suite of offices, flipped over tables and vandalized the office while posing for photos.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Trump supporters roared “U-S-A, U-S-A” in the basement “crypt” of the Capitol. The wet floors of the building were littered with shattered glass.
The riotous crowd was able to successfully halt Congress’s counting of the electoral votes to officially confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as police hastily evacuated lawmakers from the building.
The proceedings were expected to be brief and ceremonial, but some Republican lawmakers – egged on by the outgoing president – objected to the election results.
However, their attempts to block Biden’s victories remain certain to fail.
President Trump, facing widespread bipartisan criticism for egging on the violent protests, has called on protesters to “stand down” and “remain peaceful” as the situation continues to spin out of control.
“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful,” Trump said in a tweet. “No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order — respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
Vice President Pence followed the outgoing president’s message with his own tweets.
“The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now,” Pence tweeted.
“Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building.”
“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,” Pence added.
Protesters, including some wearing camouflage uniforms and waving “Trump 2020” flags, forcefully swarmed into the building, prompting the unprecedented evacuation of the Capitol.
In spectacular video played across national news networks, protesters in red “Make America Great Again” hats and holding placards could be seen freely walking around the floor of the Senate.
Meanwhile, reports have emerged that an armed stand-off has developed between federal law enforcement officers and Trump supporters at the door to the chamber of the House of Representatives.
Capitol Police have reportedly locked off the Senate chamber and have guns drawn as protesters pound on the doors and have been vandalizing the building.
One demonstrator was also reportedly shot in the chest by law enforcement during the storming of the Capitol.
This story is developing and will be updated as events unfold.
Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]