The U.S. Senate went into security lockdown Wednesday afternoon after pro-Trump protesters stormed the building and demanded to speak to lawmakers as other protesters scaled Capitol building walls outside and clashed with police.
The chaos forced lawmakers in both chambers to evacuate and brought a halt to the congressional count of states' Electoral College votes, the final step to confirm Democrat Joe Biden's victory.
There are confirmed reports that an individual was shot inside the Capitol, according to PBS News Hour.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a citywide curfew beginning at 6pm.
Video of Capitol breakin. Trump protesters are demanding to see senators pic.twitter.com/w7jTNYAedd
— Steven Nelson (@stevennelson10) January 6, 2021
Wow, they just cut off the Senate debate to evacuate everyone. An aide picked up on a mic says, "Protesters are in the building."
— Daniel Marans (@danielmarans) January 6, 2021
Photo of Senate right now. 'Where's Pence, show yourself!' protester shouts pic.twitter.com/xGVKMnsf3T
— Steven Nelson (@stevennelson10) January 6, 2021
"I've been reporting from the capitol for 11 years, nearly every working day. Never seen it like this," tweeted NBC reporter Jake Sherman.
A similar assessment was shared by Lawfare executive editor Susan Hennessey.
This is really terrifying stuff. There are sirens absolutely everywhere right now. People hurrying to get inside.
This is our home. Our children are here. I am beyond furious. Republicans who stood by in silence for four years, you own this. https://t.co/PwA1LsFhg5
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) January 6, 2021
As CNN reported,
Shortly after 1 p.m. ET hundreds of pro-Trump protesters pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol, where they tussled with officers in full riot gear, some calling the officers "traitors" for doing their jobs. About 90 minutes later, police said demonstrators got into the building and the doors to the House and Senate were being locked. Shortly after, the House floor was evacuated by police.
An armed standoff took place at the House front door as of 3 p.m. ET, and police officers had their guns drawn at someone who was trying to breach it. A Trump supporter was also pictured standing at the Senate dais earlier in the afternoon. A woman is in critical condition after being shot in the chest on the Capitol grounds, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The sources could not provide further details on the circumstances of the shooting. Multiple officers have been injured with at least one transported to the hospital, multiple sources tell CNN.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said the President Donald Trump "is responsible for the coup that is unfolding at the Capitol. He is a fascist and a direct threat to our country."
I am in the House Chambers. We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks. Chamber security and Capitol Police have their guns drawn as protesters bang on the front door of the chamber.
This is not a protest. This is an attack on America.
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PBS News Hour has live coverage of the events as they continue to unfold:
The protesters' violence appeared to have sparked U.S. Capitol Police to evacuate two office buildings:
FLASH: Capitol Police have ordered evacuations of two Capitol campus buildings -- LoC Madison Building and Cannon House Office building, both just across Independence Avenue from the Capitol.
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) January 6, 2021
I’m sheltering in place in my office. The building next door has been evacuated. I can’t believe I have to write this.
— Rep. Haley Stevens (@RepHaleyStevens) January 6, 2021
Thousands of attendees of the so-called #StopTheSteal rally, which included a contingent of the neo-fascist group Proud Boys, were shown in multiple news reports earlier in the day clashing with police, hurling expletives at them and knocking down police barriers. Few protesters are seen wearing masks.
They'd be using machine guns against BLM if they were pulling this, on the Capitol steps, with a joint session in progress https://t.co/6TEwFfvqWH
— David Burbach (@dburbach) January 6, 2021
Trump—who continues to refuse to concede the election—addressed the "MAGA" throngs earlier in the day, telling the crowd, "We will never concede."
"This year, they rigged an election," he said baselessly. "They rigged it like they've never rigged an election before."
Earlier at the rally, NPR reported:
A huge contingent of Proud Boys marched in, some chanting "storm the Capitol" and "1776!" and massed for the Capitol building. For many in the crowd, it was inconceivable that Congress would certify the November vote, as it's expected to. Echoing the president's words, they pledged to fight, some calling for a rebellion and others vowing to refocus energy on the 2024 race.
"And they made it clear," NPR added, "that Republicans who didn't back Trump would pay a price."
The president addressed the protesters again in a statement later in the afternoon, once more putting forth his false claim of a "fraudulent election" that was "stolen."
"You have to go home now," Trump said, adding, "We love you, you're very special."
Twitter stamped the president's tweet with the message: "This claim of election fraud is disputed, and this Tweet can't be replied to, retweeted, or liked due to a risk of violence."