Tens of thousands of President Donald Trump’s diehard supporters swarmed Washington, DC on Wednesday to rally near the White House as Congress prepared to formally count the electoral votes, the final step before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated president.
Events took a violent turn in the afternoon as Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, ripping down four security barriers in a bid to occupy the building. Thousands of riotous protesters didn’t shy away from engaging in skirmishes with the overwhelmed federal police, according to video posted to social media.
Hill staffers were also asked to evacuate the building in the face of the unprecedented occupation of the legislative chamber, according to one unconfirmed tweet.
However, Washington Post reporter Rebecca Tan said that the federal police were still holding the streaming throngs back. She also tweeted a short video clip of the angry crowds making their way toward the building, with some easily brushing aside a flimsy fence with an “Area Closed” sign.
“Hundreds of Trump supporters have stormed the barricades at the back of the Capitol and are marching toward the building,” Tan wrote.
In a separate tweet, Tan said that some attempted to push inside the building, but were met by a strong response by federal officers.
“Protesters are charging toward the Captiol [sic] steps. Some tried to scale the construction structures and have been tackled by police,” Tan wrote. “They want to enter the building and are making attempts at intervals. Capitol police trying to hold them back.”
Earlier in the morning, droves of demonstrators packed public spaces in the capital, with most people shunning face coverings despite the nationwide surge in coronavirus, although some wore American flags loosely draped around their faces or red “Make America Great Again” masks.
Clad in red, white, and blue apparel and blaring patriotic music from speakers, the crowd chanted “USA” and “Stop the Steal” while waving “Trump 2020” flags and other symbols of the MAGA movement.
Many of the demonstrators were supports of QAnon and other fringe movements, and said that they were prepared to fight to the bitter end to prevent the transition of power.
“Some of the people here, maybe they’re willing to say Trump lost if things don’t go the way we want them to today,” Georgia resident and DC protest participant Kevin Malone, 43, told the New York Times. “That’s not us. We can’t lose this country. If the Democrats win, there’s not going to be another fair, legal election in this country. We won’t have a democracy.”
Local officials have been bracing themselves for potential violence. Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked that residents of the city avoid downtown, but warned that “we will not allow people to incite violence, intimidate our residents or cause destruction in our city.”
A number of the over 300 National Guard troops called up for the events also stood in camouflage next to white vans, while rows of local police were stationed at Black Lives Matter Plaza in front of Lafayette Square. On Tuesday evening, pro-Trump demonstrators including the neo-fascist Proud Boys group took part in skirmishes with police, who used pepper spray to break up the riotous assembly.
During his speech to followers at the elliptical park just behind the White House, outgoing President Trump continued to falsely insist that he did not lose the 2020 election, vowing that he “will never concede” to his victorious opponent.
“We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump told the rally, promising to continue his failing attempts to overturn the election results by any means.
Trump also continued to pile on the pressure on Vice President Mike Pence, who has refused to block the certification process playing out in Congress in his role as the presiding officer of the Senate.
“I just spoke to Mike,” he told the crowd. “I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so, I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election… I hope he doesn’t listen to the stupid people.”
“It’s so egregious, it’s so bad that some people don’t even believe it,” Trump continued, baselessly claiming that the entire election process was riddled with widespread fraud. “This isn’t a matter of domestic politics, it’s a matter of national security.”
During Trump’s speech, however, Pence sent a letter to Congress that flatly denied that he would attempt to block the electoral votes, noting that his role in the process was purely ceremonial.
While several Republican legislators have said that they would object to the certification of Biden, however, Trump’s campaign is unlikely to muster the votes required to overturn the results.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.