There were chaotic scenes in Washington after supporters of outgoing US president Donald Trump violently broke into the US Capitol building. Police shot and killed a woman, identified by local media as armed forces veteran and Trump loyalist Ashli Babbit, who was part of the mob. Three more people died as a result of “medical emergencies,” and there were 52 arrests.
In video clips posted on social media, dozens of people, apparently angry about an election they still believe was “stolen,” could be seen fighting Capitol Hill police and security outside, while both chambers of Congress debated the Electoral College vote that will give the presidency to Joe Biden.
Members of the mob eventually breached the building, and photos show Capital Police attempting to hold them off with guns drawn. HuffPost reporter Matt Fuller describes the use of tear gas to clear the chamber, broken glass everywhere, and attempts by Markwayne Mullin, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma—and former MMA fighter—to reason with the trespassers.
Speaking in Delaware, president-elect Biden condemned the “extremists” that attacked the “citadel of democracy” and said their actions were “bordering on sedition”.
“It’s not protest,” he added. “It’s insurrection.”
President Trump, meanwhile, told the mob “we love you” and urged them to stand down, in a video posted on social media. Twitter disabled replies, and attached a misinformation warning to the tweet, but Facebook and YouTube eventually took it down. Twitter eventually locked his account, and threatened to ban him altogether if he didn’t delete certain inflammatory posts—hours later, he complied.
The entire area was evacuated, with vice-president Mike Pence rushed to safety, and the congressional session suspended. It resumed several hours later. Both Houses finally affirmed Joe Biden’s election victory in the early hours of Thursday morning (Jan. 7), after key Republicans withdrew their objections.
The city was under curfew from 6pm until 6am, on the orders of DC mayor Muriel Bowser, and the National Guard was deployed to prevent further violence.
Note: This is a breaking news story, and will be updated with new information.