Rioters Storm U.S. Capitol

Photo credit Stewart261984 under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Violent supporters of President Trump breached the Capitol building Wednesday, forcing members of the House and Senate to lock down within their chambers. 

Shots were fired within the Capitol building, with one unidentified woman shot inside the capitol now dead. Multiple police officers have also been injured in the riot, with one reportedly transported to a hospital according to CNN. 

These riots follow President Trump’s repeated, untrue allegations that the results of the election are fraudulent. The mob outside the Capitol building formed today after an impassioned speech by President Trump outside the White House, remarking “We will never concede!” The president’s top lawyer also spoke to the crowd, declaring “Let’s have trial by combat!”

This rally came the morning of Congress’ certification of the presidential election, the final step in officially securing Biden as the president-elect of the United States. Throughout history, this has been nothing more than a procedural measure, undertaken largely without event or interest. However, this year, it has become a flashpoint for Republican members of Congress who wish to use the process to overturn the election results being counted.

The group from Trump’s morning rally moved towards the Capitol building following his speech, and became violent. Armed rioters smashed windows, unlawfully entered the building, and attempted to reach members of Congress. 

“Stay down! Stay down!” shouted one representative within the U.S. House, as gunshots could be heard outside. 

Members of Congress are being evacuated to a safe location, but the riots rage on at the capitol as the police and National Guard struggle to restore order. Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C. has implemented a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in hopes of drawing the riots to a close by sunset.

Rioters stormed through the Capitol building, defacing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, among others. At one point, one rioter was photographed sitting proudly in the chair of the U.S. Speaker of the House. Since then, the National Guard of Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia, along with other state and federal law enforcement agencies, have been activated to restore order at the capitol. 

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) told CNN reporters, “The Capitol is being cleared. When it is safe, we will return to complete our Constitutional responsibilities. This is the United States. We will not allow mob rule to undermine the rule of law.” Since then, CBSN reported that congressional leaders have been informed that the Capitol building is now secure, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced that they intend to continue the session at the Capitol tonight, once it is “cleared for use.”

In a speech shortly following the initial violence, President-elect Joe Biden named the riots “An assault on the citadel of liberty: the Capitol itself,” and called on President Trump to speak to the nation and order his supporters to stand down. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also called on the president to address the public. In an interview with CBSN, he insisted that “I spoke to the president, I asked him to talk to the nation to tell them to stop this. This is not who we are.” Countless other Republican and Democratic representatives alike have called on the rioters to stand down, and for President Trump to address the nation. 

Trump has not gone live to the nation as of this time, but he did tweet out this video, urging supporters to “go home.” However, nearly forty seconds of the roughly one-minute video sympathized with the rioters and continued to falsely insinuate that the election was stolen, consoling that “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us,” a message that stopped well short of the categorical denouncement of the riots that many had hoped for.

At this time, the crowd has begun to disperse, but law enforcement and rioters continue to clash at the United States Capitol.

Editor’s Note: This is a quickly-evolving story. For the latest information, check in with live news sources and follow The Watchdog for further coverage in the following days.

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