The US Capitol building has been put in lockdown after furious supporters of President Trump breached its barricades, clashed with police and made it inside.
Last updated January 7, 2021 7:30AM AEDT
The US Capitol building has been put in lockdown and Congress has stopped counting the electoral votes after furious supporters of President Trump stormed the building.
A short time after the joint session of Congress convened to confirm Joe Biden’s election victory, the mass of Trump supporters breached barricades and clashed with police on the Capitol’s steps.
Multiple offices were evacuated, and then a full lockdown was imposed as the protesters made it inside.
“Due to an external security threat located on the West Front, no entry or exit is permitted at this time,” Capitol Police said.
“You may move throughout the building but stay away from exterior windows and doors. If you are outside, seek cover.”
The electoral vote count was suspended and members of Congress were locked inside the Senate chamber.
Vice President Mike Pence, who earlier said he would defy Mr Trump’s demands that he unilaterally – and illegally – overturn the election result, was taken from the chamber, presumably for his own safety.
As President of the Senate, it is Mr Pence’s job to preside over the joint sitting. He does not have the power to throw out the electoral votes.
Instead of seeking to de-escalate the situation, Mr Trump initially responded to his supporters’ actions by attacking Mr Pence on Twitter.
“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!” he said.
Mr Trump posted another tweet a few minutes later urging his supporters to “support police” and “stay peaceful”.
“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” he said.
Read on for all the latest updates.
CNN reports a woman is in critical condition after being shot in the chest on the grounds of the Capitol.
I’ll give you more detail as soon as possible.
The President has again asked his supporters to refrain from any violence. Apart from that, he is not instructing them to stop what they’re doing.
One of the President’s supporters has posted from inside the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Note his description of the current situation as a “revolution”.
BREAKING: I am inside Nancy Pelosi’s office with the thousands of revolutionaries who have stormed the building
To put into perspective how quickly staff evacuated, emails are still on the screen along side a federal alert warning members of the current revolution pic.twitter.com/m24YjtWIXh
— ELIJAH SCHAFFER (@ElijahSchaffer) January 6, 2021
Aaron Davis, an investigative reporter for The Washington Post, says the US Department of Defence has denied a request from Washington D.C. to deploy the National Guard.
An extraordinary image here from inside the House of Representatives chamber, where security have their guns drawn and pointing at the door.
Meanwhile, a handful of protesters are inside the Senate chamber. One of them is looking for Vice President Mike Pence.
An alternative view to that post comes from former Washington D.C. police chief Charles Ramsey, who wants Donald Trump to “shut the hell up and get out of the way”.
“The guy is like cancer,” Mr Ramsey told CNN.
“At some point in time, if he’s not going to do the right thing and tell them to get the hell out of the Capitol, and act like they’ve got some sense, then just shut up.
“He stirred them up. He got this whole thing going. This is as close to a coup attempt as this country has ever seen. That’s what you’re looking at folks. That is what you’re looking at. And it is absolutely ridiculous.”
Former DC Police Chief Charles Ramsey: “What I’d want the president to do is shut the hell up and get out of the way. He’s like a cancer.”
“This is as close to a coup attempt as this country has ever seen.” pic.twitter.com/DX4a6fvbpR
— The Recount (@therecount) January 6, 2021
Alyssa Farah was communications director for Donald Trump until last month. She is now on Twitter begging the President to do say something to stop the situation.
“Condemn this now. You are the only one they will listen to,” she said.
STOP THIS NOW. Capitol Police protect & defend the People’s House. We BACK THE BLUE. This is insanity. https://t.co/vf4CI4NotX
— Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) January 6, 2021
According to Congressman Gerry Connolly, members were given gas masks on the House floor. Tear gas was used in the building’s rotunda.
CBS reports senators have now been evacuated from the Senate chamber.
This is happening inside the Congress of the United States right now: pic.twitter.com/3AOjEucUAX
— David Clinch (@DavidClinchNews) January 6, 2021
I’ll give you another language warning before this next series of tweets, from HuffPost’s Igor Bobic.
“If we don’t get justice, we will never stop!” one of the protesters shouted, according to Bobic.
Another protester, having ascended the dais in the Senate chamber, shouted: “Trump won that election!”
That’s the confederate flag flying outside the Senate chamber pic.twitter.com/1XB5TlAsuv
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 6, 2021
Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who has been deeply critical of the President’s misinformation since the election, has labelled the situation at the Capitol Building a “coup attempt”.
You can see more images and footage below.
This is a coup attempt.
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) January 6, 2021
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) January 6, 2021