In the midst of discussions leading up to the counting of the electoral votes on Wednesday, pro-Trump demonstrators broke through four layers of security fencing and entered the Capitol building in a stunning escalation of aggression.
Both houses of Congress abruptly stopped floor debate. In the House of Representatives, security people could be seen trying to restore order, and police could be seen moving by out in the hallway. Reports confirmed later that the House chamber had indeed been breached by at least one of the Trump supporters, who yelled into the chamber “Trump won this election.”
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence was escorted from the Senate Floor. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also left her seat in front of the House. Lawmakers were speedily escorted to secure locations within the Capitol Building.
Video footage shows Trump supporters battling with Capital Police inside the capitol building. One demonstrator shot a fire extinguisher outside the Senate Chamber, as security people drew guns. Some Capitol Police officers had been attacked with tear gas by Trump supporters, and several have been injured.
Protesters are fighting with Capitol Police and Secret Service within the capitol building. pic.twitter.com/NiJq8huKl2
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) January 6, 2021
President Donald Trump gave a speech today at a “Stop the Steal” event that was widely promoted on social media. At the end of the speech, the president reportedly urged his supporters to converge on the Capitol. After the demonstrators converged on the Capitol Building, Trump sent out a tweet exhorting them to “support the Capitol Police and Law Enforcement.”
Beginning Monday, Trump supporters began gathering en masse in Washington, D.C., to protest the counting of the electoral votes that were already certified by the states, a process that is usually seen as ceremonial.
The city of Washington had already called in National Guard troops to protect the public, but they were no where to be seen near the Capitol as the building was breached. Washington Post reporter Aaron C. Davis quotes a source saying that the Defense Department denied a request from the city to deploy National Guard troops to the Capitol.
BREAKING: Trump supporters have breached the Capitol building, tearing down 4 layers of security fencing and are attempting to occupy the building — fighting federal police who are overrun
This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Thousands, police can’t stop them pic.twitter.com/VVdTUwV5YN
— ELIJAH SCHAFFER (@ElijahSchaffer) January 6, 2021
Today’s events in are shocking, but seem less surprising through the lens of social media, which has been promoting today’s convergence on the capital, and the use of violence, for weeks.
Earlier today on the right-wing social media site Parler, many posters were promoting armed revolution in Washington.
Congress goes on lockdown as Trump supporters storm the Capitol building The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Fast Company.