Even as the Congress was holding a joint session to count the Electoral College votes to clear the path for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration this month, a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump entered the Capitol building and engaged in violent clashes with security personnel deployed at the site.
AP and NBC report that at least one person has been shot. Tear gas was used to control the mob, even as all buildings in the Capitol were placed on lockdown. Congress had to be evacuated. Vice President Mike Pence was whisked away as proceedings came to a standstill.
President Donald Trump has maintained that the election was “stolen” from him and has been repeatedly making claims of voter fraud. Even after the violent events of the day, he refused to concede defeat, but asked protesters to go home. “I know you are pained. I know you are hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side,” said Trump in a televised address. “But you have to go home now, we have to have peace,” he added.
Trump’s entire address could previously be viewed at the link below. However, shortly after the address, Twitter disabled the comment, retweet and like options for Trump’s video address, fearing spread of violence. The entire video tweet was subsequently taken down. The social media platform had already been flagging Trump’s claims of election fraud in all his tweets.
Moments before Trump’s address, President-elect Joe Biden had captured the mood of a shocked nation. In his own televised address Biden said, “Our democracy is under an unprecedented assault, unlike anything we have seen in modern times! An assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself!”
Calling on President Trump to put an end to the violence, Biden said, “The words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad that President may be,” adding, “At their best they inspire, at their worst, they incite.”
President-elect Biden’s entire address may be viewed here:
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement demanding Trump ask all protesters to leave the Capitol.
A curfew has been declared by Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser:
The National Guard is taking over the law-and-order situation.
The events of the day drew sharp criticism from international leaders, celebrities and public personalities:
* Feature image: Representational image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.