Update: 6:25 p.m. ET: A woman who was reported to have been shot earlier today at the Capitol has died, according to reports. The woman was allegedly a Trump supporter, and appears to have been shot by law enforcement; there have been some disputes whether she was shot in the chest or neck, but photos at the scene showed the woman being taken away by a stretcher.
Update: 5:05 p.m. ET: The National Association of Manufacturers released a statement calling on Vice President Mike Pence to cooperate with the rest of the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office. The constitutional amendment states that if the president becomes unable to do his job, the vice president can become the president. Specifically, section four of the amendment says: If the vice president and a majority of the cabinet agree that the president is unfit to carry out the powers and duties of the office, a letter can be submitted to Congress. Unless Congress refuses the transfer of power, the vice president can take charge immediately.
Update 4:45 p.m. ET: Hours after lawmakers from both parties — including President-elect Joe Biden — called on President Donald Trump to publicly denounce the protest, Trump released a recorded message on Twitter: “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” he begins. “It was a landslide election and everyone knows it. Especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace.” Moments before Trump released his video statement, the entire National Guard was deployed in Washington, D.C. Biden also addressed the nation to say that “our democracy is under unprecedented assault,” and asked rioters to stand down.
This story was originally published on January 6, 2021 at 3:40 ET.
As both the Senate and House of Representatives gathered in a joint session to ratify the Electoral College votes for the 2020 presidential election on Wednesday, thousands of demonstrators who refuse to accept President Donald Trump’s loss began flooding Washington D.C. to protest in what has turned into a violent, coup-like demonstration. There are current reports of shootings inside the Capitol building, where congresspeople are attempting to shelter, and there is little sign of demonstrators ceasing or standing down. So far, CNN is reporting that more law enforcement has been deployed in gas masks to assist D.C. police officers. We will update this post at the story develops.
Leading up to these events, the protest started this morning after several thousand supporters cheered on Trump for once-again making baseless claims of election fraud from the Ellipse just south of the White House, protestors began to grow more angry as Congress convened to ratify the presidential vote.
“We will stop the steal,” Trump said, addressing a tightly packed, largely maskless crowd. In his speech, he continued to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overstep his constitutional bounds and overturn the results of the election. “Hope Mike is going to do the right thing,” he says. “If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.” Even though he has already said he does not have the power to do so, Pence released a letter just before noon local time saying that he wouldn’t object to president-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Prior to his speech, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani also addressed the crowd, disregarding Pence’s statement: “Let’s have trial by combat!” he shouted to an enthusiastic audience. And shortly after, chaos began to ensue.
In the hours and minutes since Trump and Giuliani’s speeches, demonstrators have been storming the Capitol building, breaking windows and making their way inside with MAGA banners and guns, and violently confronting members of Congress, many of who have had to shelter-in-place in their offices as they prepare to evacuate the building in gas masks.
They just put up a cross in front of the capitol building pic.twitter.com/0LrGQ5zj9e
— Anna Timmer (@VeritasSola) January 6, 2021
Whoa: Trump supporters going at it with the police on the steps of the Capitol as Congress counts the Electoral College ballots inside pic.twitter.com/LiQhaa5KkQ
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 6, 2021
Trump protesters have broken through barriers at the US Capitol pic.twitter.com/9IgXQkGorE
— Donie O’Sullivan (@donie) January 6, 2021
Supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump breached security cordons and entered the Capitol during the certification session for President-elect Joe Biden.
The US House and Senate were forced into emergency recess and the Capitol building locked down
📷 @saulloeb pic.twitter.com/5bmiS872PX
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) January 6, 2021
Protesters have torn down a barrier. Fireworks going off outside the Capitol. People in a tower telling the crowd to press forward. “Move forward and we can beat them.” Throwing things are police. Crowd pushing up chanting USA. This is unreal pic.twitter.com/FDEQu9HyPX
— Andrew Egger (@EggerDC) January 6, 2021
Hundreds of law enforcement officers have reportedly mobilized across the capital, including 340 National Guard members at the request of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. Meanwhile, Trump galvanized his supporters, tweeting, “We Hear You (and love you) from the Oval Office” and “Our Country has had enough, they won’t take it anymore!” as they marched from the Ellipse to the Capitol.
Upon reaching their destination, several hundred Trump supporters toppled the barricades yelling “Forward!” as they descended upon the grassy fields leading to the Capitol. According to The Washington Post, some protesters were stopped by law enforcement as they tried to reach the steps of the building attempting to enter, but most were not.
Inside, Congress was still counting electoral college votes while protestors descended. Across the street, Capitol Police ordered the evacuation of two Capitol campus buildings: the Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building and the Cannon House Office Building.
So far, it is unclear who has been evacuated from the building or why law enforcement has not taken forceful action as we’ve seen them do during numerous D.C. protests. According to CNN, Vice President Mike Pence has been evacuated, while President Trump is still in his office, and has since only tweeted once to encourage protestors to stand down in the face of police.
In the days leading up to the march, police designated areas where they expected protesters to gather as gun-free zones between Monday and Thursday, reports CNN. Signs were posted warning that gun possession during the protests would not be tolerated. Bowser urged residents to stay away from the downtown area. “We will not allow people to incite violence, intimidate our residents or cause destruction in our city,” she said.
At the time of publication, police have reported 12 protest-related arrests across Tuesday and Wednesday, including weapons charges, possessing a stun gun, simple assault, and assault on a police officer, among other violations. More are expected. The Department of Homeland Security staffed a “Virtual Situation Room” to help with communication during the protests, reports CNN. According to DHS spokesperson Alexei Woltornist, the organization is “not currently tracking any active threats.”
Protest or no protest, Congress is expected to conclude the certification process today and put the final stamp on Biden’s victory.
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