Trump supporters storm US Capitol, delaying election certification

The siege of the Capitol was one of the darkest moments, but not the last hour of modern democracy, writes Anna Donáth. [EPA - EFE | Michael Reynolds]

The US House of Representatives and Senate were forced to delay their proceedings to certify the November presidential election after a mob breached the Capitol building on Wednesday (6 January). The building is now on lockdown with politicians instructed to remain in their offices.

Shortly after the US Congress began the process to certify the November presidential election,  won by Democrat candidate Joe Biden, rioters supporting President Trump stormed the Capitol building. Some lawmakers have been evacuated or are otherwise instructed to shelter in their offices or on the floor of the House.

The election certification was initially delayed. After multiple hours, police were able to secure the Capitol, and lawmakers restarted the certification proceedings at 20:00 EST.

Based on reports from witnesses, the mob had breached the House floor, and tear gas has been deployed inside the building. Media outlets are reporting that there have been shots fired as well. 

The mayor of Washington D.C. has implemented a curfew for the city beginning at 18:00 EST. 

“This is what you have gotten, guys,” Republican Senator and prominent critic of the president Mitt Romney said while being evacuated from the Senate chamber. “This is a coup attempt,” Adam Kinzinger, a Republican Representative from Illinois tweeted.

After the mob breached the Capitol, President Trump tweeted “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”

In his messages, however, he has not told his supporters to leave the Capitol, and some members are encouraging the president to do more on Twitter. 

“Mr. President…the men & women of law enforcement are under assault. It is crucial  you help restore order by sending resources to assist the police and ask those doing this to stand down,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio tweeted. 

European politicians have voiced their concerns about the events in Washington. European Parliament president David Sassoli tweeted: “Deeply concerning scenes from the US Capitol tonight. Democratic votes must be respected. We are certain the US will ensure that the rules of democracy are protected.”

A few hours after the Capitol was breached, President-Elect Biden made a speech calling for calm and demanding that the mob leave the Capitol. He referred to the event as “an insurrection bordering on sedition.”

After calls from officials to make a statement, President Trump released a one-minute video on Twitter. In it, he repeated the lie that he won the election and then told his supporters “go home.”

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