Sights and Sounds from Chaotic Capitol Hill

U.S. Capitol Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

January 6th, 2021 has been a day closely watched since the election concluded in November as it would be the final bastion for Republican party members to cry fraud. While dozens of court cases, headed by many Republican justices, shot down Trump and the GOP’s claims, it did not stop the president from calling for a protest on the day Congress would officially certify the election.

As the counting of Electoral College votes started in the early afternoon in Washington D.C. many pro-Trump protesters gathered around Capitol Hill.

Four layers of security fences had been placed around the Capitol building and adorned with local law enforcement.

Soon, protesters chanting slogans claiming a fraudulent election pushed their way through the barricades and onto the lawn of the Capitol building. Law enforcement pushed back but were soon overwhelmed, some even pepper-spraying officers in retaliation.

(Photo: Jose Luis Magana – AP News)

(Photo: Julio Cortez – AP News)

After only three states had been certified protesters began to smash windows and vandalize the Capitol building, shoving their way past law enforcement and into the building.

Protesters breaching the front doors caused an immediate lockdown of the hearing for the Electoral College votes while members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence were immediately evacuated. Protesters wandered the lobby chanting “stop the steal.”

Donning emergency gas masks, media and congressional workers were evacuated through an underground tunnel, away from the scene.

(Photo: J. Scott Applewhite – AP News)

(Photo: Andrew Harnik – AP News)

Above ground, members of the mob continued to push further into the building, now banging at the barricaded door of the House Chamber. Capitol Police had drawn guns and soon rioters would break the window which lead to a series of events that caused Capitol police to open fire. Reports of a female protester being shot in the chest surfaced shortly after. The female who was shot is now reported dead.

(Photo: J. Scott Applewhite – AP News)

(Photo: J. Scott Applewhite – AP News)

At this point, protesters roamed the rest of the building freely and even began to take selfies with the very law officers they had clashed with.

Others in the mob began rummaging through desks and even took up momentary celebratory poses at the lectern of the Senate floor and in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

At this time Trump had yet to speak to the public other than a tweet asking for peace. As the now riot escalated, Joe Biden took to television to condemn the actions and call on Trump to make a statement to the protesters that Trump had invited into the Capitol himself.

“The words of a president matter,” Biden said in a rebuke of the events. “At their best, the words of a president can inspire, at their worst, they can incite.”

VP Mike Pence took to Twitter to denounce the riot and President Trump soon published his own video telling protesters to go home.

Soon Virginia national guard would descend onto the Capitol building and regain control of the Senate Chambers and the building. Tear gas and flashbangs were reportedly used on the rioters.

(Photo: Andrew Harnik – AP News)

Remaining rioters would continue to mingle in front of the building and would go on to harass a cluster of newscasters, beating and pushing over their equipment.

D.C. is under curfew tonight as local law enforcement seeks to regain control of the area. Additional barricades are being erected around Capitol Hill and evacuated congressional members remain in an undisclosed location.

Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi, amongst many others, are calling for the count to continue this evening, to show strength against those who attempted to stop the certification of the Electoral College votes.

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