Hundreds of pro-Trump rioters have stormed the U.S. Capitol, violently pushing past police and forcing Congress into lockdown amid the Electoral College vote certification on Wednesday.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a curfew beginning at 6 p.m. ET, and the National Guard has been activated to assist at the Capitol. Members of the House and Senate were instructed to shelter in place.
Groups of Trump supporters toppled barricades surrounding the perimeter of the Capitol shortly before 1 p.m. ET before pushing past police and entering the Capitol building. Video footage and photos taken at the scene show rioters breaking glass on doors and in windows, scaling the walls of the Capitol, discharging a fire extinguisher outside the Senate chamber, breaking into members’ offices and violently clashing with police.
Shortly before 3 p.m. ET, individuals breached the Senate chamber but were eventually cleared out. According to CNN, a woman is in critical condition after being shot on Capitol grounds. The circumstances of the shooting are not immediately clear, but the Washington Post reported that an ambulance arrived at the Capitol shortly before 3 p.m. ET.
Rioters have also attempted to breach the House door, leading to an armed standoff with police.
“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” Trump tweeted to his followers.
About half an hour later, Trump followed up with another tweet asking his supporters to not be violent. “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!” he tweeted.
An hour later, Trump then released a taped video to the rioters, where he told them to “go home” but continued to spread the false claim that the election was “stolen” from him.
Earlier on Wednesday during a rally ahead of the electoral vote certification, Trump also urged his supporters to head to the Capitol. “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol. And we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Trump said outside the White House.
“Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness,” he added. “You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”
Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden has condemned the violence as an “assault on the rule of law” and an “assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself.” He called on Trump to go on national TV to “demand an end to this siege.”
“At this hour, our democracy’s under an unprecedented assault, unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” Biden said in a speech from Delaware. “It borders on sedition. And it must end now.”
Trump protesters just discharged a fire extinguisher outside Senate chamber. Many protesters are inside building, and most people are hiding from them pic.twitter.com/0y2sk8LHWd
— Steven Nelson (@stevennelson10) January 6, 2021
The Capitol is literally being broken into.
We’re under siege. pic.twitter.com/HW5bxbyr0h
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 6, 2021
They’re in the chamber. One is up on the dais yelling “Trump won that election!” This is insane pic.twitter.com/p6CXhBDSFT
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 6, 2021
They breached the Capitol pic.twitter.com/tWKxojW2Hr
— Matt Laslo (@MattLaslo) January 6, 2021
Absolute calamity at the U.S. Capitol. Smoke bombs, tear gas and people infiltrating the building. 30 mins ago some here hijacked this equipment and took flags to the windows.
Others asserting that “1776 has commenced again.” pic.twitter.com/PcKMpuKLT5
— Michael Brice-Saddler (@TheArtist_MBS) January 6, 2021