On Jan. 6, 2021, Congress was scheduled to vote to ratify the Electoral College votes in order to officially elect Joseph Biden into office on Jan. 20. The joint session of Congress is required to start this approval process, but they have until Inauguration Day to formally count the Electoral College’s votes. Protests scheduled for the same day as the joint session, protesting the results of the election, have disrupted the process as protestors have stormed the U.S. Capitol. According to CNN, “The stunning display of insurrection was the first time the US Capitol had been breached since the British attacked and burned the building in August of 1814, during the War of 1812”. The National Guard from multiple states has been called in to control this protest, and Virginia and D.C. police departments have been called in to help Capitol police.
Today’s protests began with a peaceful, permitted rally in Washington, D.C. Gradually, protestors moved to the Capitol Building, which caused unrest and security breaches across the Washington, D.C. area. This is when the vote count stopped and Capitol Hill went into lockdown. The Capitol Hill press pool reported that Vice President Mike Pence left the Senate chamber, which went into recess as police locked down the building. Barricades on the Capitol Building steps were broken down and protestors stormed the Capitol steps and doors, with multiple protestors eventually breaking into the Capitol Building. A gunshot was fired in the Capitol Building, which injured at least one person; multiple other protestors and at least one law enforcement officer have been transferred to the hospital with other injuries. However, EMS are under instruction to only transport vital and pertinent cases and to do triage on other on-site injuries due to COVID-19 surges.
In a tweet from President Trump, he asked his supporters to remain calm, stating, “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
Despite this tweet, Trump supporters continued to raid the building. According to the Huffington Post, protesters could be heard chanting “where the fuck are they?”, in reference to the location of the senators, and claiming that “Trump won that election.“ Senators were being evacuated and some house lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices. Representative Cori Bush tweeted, “I’m in the Capitol. I’m safe, and my team and I are sheltering in place. The President of the United States has incited a riot that has now stormed the Capitol. There are rioters roaming the halls of the Capitol. I saw them with my own eyes.”
Around 4 p.m. EST, President-elect Joe Biden was broadcast on television denouncing the actions of protestors and calling on President Trump to speak against the actions of his supporters. When asked if he was concerned about his nomination being upheld, President-elect Biden responded, “I am not concerned about the safety and security of the inauguration. Enough is enough.”
At 4:05 p.m., Vice President Mike Pence called for protesters to leave the Capitol Building immediately. In a video released during the event, President Trump stated, “You have to go home now, we have to have peace.” Tear gas has been released into the crowd and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has enacted a 6 p.m. curfew. As of the time of publishing, protestors are continuing to refuse to leave the premises.
This is a developing story. Check credible news sources for live updates. For your convenience, we have provided some links below to a variety of news sources reporting on the protests. Remember to fact check all information and consume your news with discretion.
By Rachel Van Horne, News Editor, and Freya Dahlgren, Staff Writer