Pro-Trump Rioters Breach U.S. Capitol Building in Unprecedented Attack on Rule of Law

Hundreds of Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to protest the Electoral College’s voting to certify president-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

The pro-Trump protestors, many of whom were armed and became rioters, pushed through barriers and law enforcement officers outside of the Capitol and breached the building on Wednesday afternoon. Rioters were filmed inside the building marching through Statuary Hall and other parts of the Capitol. CNN reported that flash bangs could be heard near the steps of the Capitol and in some instances officers were deploying pepper spray. Tear gas was also being used in the area but it was not clear if it had been deployed by protestors or police, according to CNN. Protestors were filmed smashing the glass of the Capitol’s windows to breach the building; protestors were also photographed inside lawmakers’ offices and other parts of the building, where tables and other items had been used to form makeshift barricades.

One group even took down the American flag and raised a Trump flag in its place.

The doors to the House and Senate were locked following the Capitol breach and Congress members were told by police to don gas masks. Lawmakers, including Vice President Mike Pence, were evacuated from the area. An armed standoff had taken place at the House’s front door on Wednesday afternoon and a pro-Trump supporter was filmed at the Senate dais shouting, “Trump won that election!”

The Republican National Committee Headquarters, which is located next to the Capitol, was evacuated earlier Wednesday due to reports of a suspicious package. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a 6 p.m. curfew. CNN reported that federal and local law enforcement were responding to reports of possible pipe bombs in multiple locations in Washington DC and a woman was in critical condition after being shot in the chest on the Capitol grounds. The US Capitol Police have requested additional law enforcement for assistance, according to CNN.

The Capitol protests came after weeks of President Donald Trump baselessly claiming that the 2020 election was a “fraud.” Trump held a rally early Wednesday to protest Biden’s victory and claimed “we will never concede.” Trump tweeted that he wished for protestors to stay peaceful following the US Capitol breach on Wednesday afternoon. He has not called on his supporters to vacate the Capitol, however.

CNN’s live feed of the Capitol can be viewed here.

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