U.S. Capitol breach updates | Trump promises 'orderly transition' after Congress certifies Biden's victory

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. File   | Photo Credit: AP

A Joint Session of the U.S. Congress on Thursday formally certified the electoral victory of Joe Biden as the next U.S. President and Kamala Harris as the Vice President in the November 3 election. This result, while expected, comes at the end of a long day that saw the death of four people after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol for nearly four hours.

The mob violently clashed with law enforcement in a bid to help President Donald Trump overturn his defeat in the November election. As a result, the Congress, which had convened to certify Joe Biden's election victory, was evacuated midway. Both the House and Senate reconvened after a brief period to resume duties.

Videos showed people breaking windows and pressing past barricades to get inside. Lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives were evacuated. After he repeatedly posted false accusations about the election, Twitter and Facebook suspended Mr. Trump's account for violating user policy.

Here are the live updates (time in IST):

2.40 pm

Trump promises 'orderly transition' on Jan. 20

President Donald Trump has said that there "will be an orderly transition on January 20th" after Congress concluded the electoral vote count certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and after a day of violence when his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Mr. Trump said in a statement tweeted by his social media director Dan Scavino, "Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th."

"I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again," he added.

Mr. Trump’s account is currently locked by Twitter. - AP

2.10 pm

Joint session of U.S. Congress certifies Joe Biden's electoral victory over Trump

A Joint Session of the U.S. Congress on Thursday formally certified the electoral victory of Joe Biden as the next U.S. President and Kamala Harris as the Vice President in the November 3 election.

The formal certification by the Joint Session came in the wee hours of Thursday. The counting of Electoral College votes and its subsequent certification came after an ugly episode of violence inside the U.S. Capitol, resulting in four deaths, wherein Capitol Hill was brought under a lockdown, with lawmakers being taken to safe places, shots were fired inside the Congress and tear gas was used.

Mr. Biden, 78, and Ms. Harris, 56, are scheduled to be sworn in as the President and Vice President of the country on January 20. The inauguration is going to be a low-key affair given the COVID-19 pandemic.

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1.40 pm

Joint session on to certify Biden win after House reject PA objections

House, Senate to continue with joint session after House votes down objections to Pennsylvania results. No further challenges are expected after this, and the roll call to certify State-by-State electoral votes (alphebetically) is expected to proceed smoothly now — this means 12 States remain to be called, plus Washington D.C.

Vice President Mike Pence too has made clear he will not attempt to reject any of the State election results despite being pressured to do so by Mr. Trump.

It is 3.20 a.m. (January 7) in Washington D.C. now. Needless to say, it has been a long day for lawmakers in the U.S.Congress.

1 pm

Tempers flare as House debates PA electoral vote

A small group of House lawmakers came close to physically fighting early on Thursday morning as the congressional count of electoral votes stretched into the wee hours and a Pennsylvania Democrat charged that Republicans had been telling "lies" about his State’s votes.

Rep. Morgan Griffiths, R-Va., objected after Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., said a breach of the Capitol by an angry mob earlier in the day was "inspired by lies, the same lies you are hearing in this room tonight."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot down the objection, but a few minutes later Republicans and Democrats streamed to the middle aisle, with around a dozen lawmakers getting close to each other and arguing. But the group quickly broke up when Ms. Pelosi called for order on the floor. - AP

12.30 pm

How security failures enabled Trump mob to storm U.S. Capitol

Earlier in the day, police officers stood guard as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S.. (Photo taken on January 6, 2021)

Earlier in the day, police officers stood guard as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S.. (Photo taken on January 6, 2021)   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The siege of the Capitol, home to both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, represents one of the gravest security lapses in recent U.S. history, current and former law enforcement officials said.

The security initially was handled almost entirely alone by the U.S. Capitol Police, a 2,000-member force under the control of Congress and dedicated to protecting the 126-acre Capitol Grounds. For reasons that remained unclear as of early Thursday, other arms of the U.S. federal government's vast security apparatus did not arrive in force for hours as rioters besieged the seat of Congress.

Despite rumblings of danger, the Capitol Police force did not request advance help to secure the building from other federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, according to one senior official. And National Guard reinforcements, summoned by the city’s mayor, were not mobilised until more than an hour after protesters had first breached the barricades.

In stark contrast, those agencies were aggressively deployed by the Trump administration during last summer’s police brutality protests in Washington and elsewhere in the United States.

The Capitol Police officers are trained to keep protesters off the Capitol’s marble outdoor steps, to protect the complex like a citadel. But there are so many windows and doors in the 19th-century complex that it is difficult to defend them all, said Terrance Gainer, who served as Capitol Police chief and later as the U.S. Senate's Sergeant at Arms, its chief law enforcement officer.

"Once they lost the steps, they lost the doors and windows," he said. - Reuters

12.10 pm

Woman shot dead in U.S. Capitol was veteran, Trump supporter

The woman who died on Wednesday of a bullet wound during the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol was shot by police, authorities said.

The only fatality tied to Wednesday’s unrest was the woman, reportedly a dedicated Donald Trump backer and air force veteran who was among a throng of supporters of the President that invaded the U.S. legislature.

The dead woman was identified in U.S. media as Ashli Babbitt, a backer of the President from San Diego, California who had served in the United States Air Force.

She was shot amid chaotic and violent scenes inside the Capitol building, where some security personnel drew their guns to protect lawmakers as protesters advanced.

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11.40 am

What to expect next in U.S. election certification?

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during a reconvened joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College votes of the 2020 presidential election in the House chamber in Washington, U.S. on January 6, 2021.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during a reconvened joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College votes of the 2020 presidential election in the House chamber in Washington, U.S. on January 6, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

 

The approval of State tallies appeared to be accelerating to a conclusion as the morning wore on as some planned objections by Senators were abandoned following the Capitol breach.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would hold no further votes on the Electoral College tally, indicating that following the House vote on Pennsylvania, no further challenges would be made.

At least one member of the House and one from the Senate have to object to a State's votes in order to open the debate.

Vice President Mike Pence has made clear he will not attempt to reject any of the State election results despite being pressured to do so by Mr. Trump.

11.20 am

Senate rejects objection to Pennsylvania result

The Senate has quickly knocked down Republican objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden.

Senators voted 92-7 after midnight on Thursday morning to derail the GOP attempt to overturn Pennsylvania’s support for the Democrat.

As per procedure, both the Senate and House are allowed to debate on the issue for upto two hours before voting. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved a motion to end the debate before it began. This motion was seconded, and so the Senate moved to vote.

Mr. McConnell said he believed no other States’ votes would be challenged. That means Congress’ formal certification of Mr. Biden’s victory could finish quickly once the House votes on the Pennsylvania challenge.

Those objecting to Pennsylvania’s votes included 80 House Republicans and Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, who is considered a potential 2024 presidential contender.

10.30 am

52 arrests made, says police chief

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J. Contee said on Wednesday evening that 52 people have been arrested after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an unprecedented effort to stop Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden's election victory.

In a late-night news conference, Mr. Contee said that 47 of the 52 arrests to date were related to violations of Mayor Muriel Bowser's 6 p.m. curfew, with 26 of those involving people arrested on U.S. Capitol grounds.

Several others were arrested on charges related to carrying unlicensed or prohibited firearms. - Reuters

10.10 am

4 dead as Trump supporters stormed Capitol

Four people died as supporters of President Donald Trump violently occupied the U.S. Capitol.

Washington, D.C., Police Chief Robert Contee said the dead on Wednesday included a woman who was shot by the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as three others who died in "medical emergencies."

Police said both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hours-long occupation of the Capitol building before it was cleared on Wednesday evening by law enforcement.

 

The woman was shot earlier on Wednesday as the mob tried to break through a barricaded door in the Capitol where police were armed on the other side. She was hospitalised with a gunshot wound and later died.

D.C. police officials also said that two pipe bombs were recovered, one outside the Democratic National Committee and one outside the Republican National Committee. Police found a cooler from a vehicle that had a long gun and Molotov cocktail on Capitol grounds. - AP

10 am

House rejects objection to Biden's Arizona win

The House has voted overwhelmingly to reject an objection to President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Arizona, joining the Senate in upholding the results of the election there.

The objection failed 303-121 on Wednesday night, with only Republicans voting in support.

Now that Arizona is out of the way, Congress will reconvene as the joint session and make its way through the rest of the States that have objections. - AP

9.30 am

What next?

Now that the Senate has rejected the contest on Arizona results, here is what happens.

Typically, after the House and Senate debate the objections against certification of results, both chambers vote on it. After this, the House and Senate hold a joint session in which each elector is certified State by State in alphebetical order.

The session is presided by Vice President Mike Pence, who will formally announce who has won the majority of votes for both President and Vice President.

9.20 am

Cabinet members discussing Trump's removal: U.S. media

Members of President Donald Trump's cabinet on Wednesday discussed the possibility of removing Mr. Trump from office after his supporters stormed the Capitol, three U.S. news channels reported.

The discussions focused on the 25th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allows for a President's removal by the Vice President and Cabinet if he is judged "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

Invoking it would require Vice President Michael Pence to lead the cabinet in a vote on removing him. - AFP

9.10 am

Enough is enough, says Trump ally Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham said a commission to examine the 2020 election is not a proper next step and affirmed that Joe Biden is the “legitimate president of the United States.”

Mr. Graham, a South Carolina Republican and longtime ally of President Donald Trump, called it a “uniquely bad idea to delay this election,” referencing the commission idea proposed by his fellow South Carolina Republican, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott.

“Count me out. Enough is enough,” he said.

Mr. Graham said that “if you’re a conservative,” the idea that Vice President Mike Pence could reverse the results of the election, as President Donald Trump had urged him to do, was “the most offensive concept in the world.” - AP

8.50 am

Senate rejects challenge to Biden Arizona win

The Senate has overwhelmingly turned aside a challenge to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, guaranteeing the result will stand.

The objection to the results in Arizona — spearheaded by Rep. Paul Gosar and Sen. Ted Cruz — was rejected 93-6 on Wednesday night. All votes in favor came from Republicans, but after violent protesters mobbed the Capitol earlier Wednesday a number of GOP senators who had planned to support the objection reversed course.

The Republicans raised the objection based on false claims pushed by President Donald Trump and others of issues with the vote in Arizona, which were repeatedly dismissed in Arizona’s courts and by the state’s election officials. - AP

8.30 am

Two top White House officials resign after Capitol violence

Two top aides to first lady Melania Trump resigned in the wake of violence on Capitol Hill, and more top White House officials were considering resigning, including national security adviser Robert O'Brien and his deputy, Matthew Pottinger, sources familiar with the matter said.

Stephanie Grisham resigned as chief of staff to the First Lady. The White House social secretary, Rickie Niceta, also resigned, as did a deputy White House press secretary, Sarah Matthews, two sources told Reuters.

O'Brien was also considering resigning, as was Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser who has been a key voice on China policy within the administration, two sources said. - Reuters

8.10 am

'Distressed': PM Modi reacts to U.S. Capitol violence

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of peaceful transfer of power, as he reacted to the violence in U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump mob.

"Distressed to see news about rioting and violence in Washington DC. Orderly and peaceful transfer of power must continue. The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests," he wrote on Twitter.

8.05 am

U.S. Congress reconvenes to certify Biden win after mobs invade Capitol

Congress gavelled back into session late Wednesday to resume the process of certifying Joe Biden's presidential election victory, after a mob protesting Donald Trump's defeat violently invaded the U.S. Capitol and plunged Washington into chaos.

"As we reconvene in this chamber, the world will again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy," Vice President Mike Pence said as he reopened the Senate session.

"To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins, freedom wins," Mr. Pence added. "And this is still the people's house."

The House of Representatives also resumed its session, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling lawmakers they will stay "as long as it takes" to finish the certification of Electoral College votes, the final formal step affirming Biden's win.

"We must and we will show to the country, and indeed to the world, that we will not be diverted from our duty, that we will respect our responsibility to the constitution and to the American people."

Both chambers were forced into recess earlier as they were debating the objection by some Republicans to the Electoral Vote count in Arizona, a swing State that voted for Biden.

Lawmakers of both parties reentered their chambers under heavy security escorts hours after the unrest, which saw protesters breach barricades, and push past police into the House and Senate.

Security agents drew weapons inside the House chamber during a dangerous stand-off that left lawmakers fearing for their lives. — AFP

7.30 am

Facebook joins Twitter in blocking Mr. Trump from posting following the storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. - AP

7 am

Obama says violence at Capitol a moment of shame

Former President Barack Obama says history will rightly remember the violence at the Capitol as a moment of great dishonour and shame for the nation.

Mr. Obama say the violence was "incited by a sitting President" who baselessly lied about the outcome of the presidential election. He has convinced his supporters that he lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden only because Democrats cheated, a false claim.

Mr. Obama says it should not have come as a surprise, and that for two months "a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth."

He says "their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo." - AP

6.10 am

Twitter suspends Trump from tweeting for 12 hours over violations

Twitter said on Wednesday that it had temporarily locked the account of U.S. President Donald Trump for 12 hours over "repeated and severe violations" of the social media platform's civic integrity rules and threatened permanent suspension.

Twitter said it required the removal of Trump's tweets "as a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C," after pro-Trump protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to force Congress to overturn the election result.

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5.50 am

Pro-Trump protesters remain out after Washington DC curfew

Dozens of pro-Trump protesters remain on the streets of the nation’s capital in defiance of the curfew imposed after rioters stormed the Capitol.

People shelter in the U.S. House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington D.C.

People shelter in the U.S. House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington D.C.   | Photo Credit: AP

 

The mostly maskless crowd was forcibly removed from the Capitol on Wednesday after breaking into the building and halting the constitutional process of voting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. They were pushed out of the immediate area and moved down the hill, where they taunted law enforcement and moved barricades.

Police said anyone found on the streets after the curfew would be arrested. Officers in full riot gear with shields lined the streets near the U.S. Capitol.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said their debate on affirming Biden's victory would continue after the Capitol was secured. — AP

5.40 am

Mitt Romney blames Trump for inciting 'insurrection'

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney is blaming President Donald Trump for inciting a violent "insurrection" at the Capitol.

Mr. Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee and a frequent critic of Mr. Trump's, said the violent breach of the Capitol on Wednesday was "due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months."

The Utah senator said those who continue to support Mr. Trump's "dangerous gambit" by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election "will forever be seen as complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy."

Mr. Romney ridiculed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republicans who want an "audit" of the election results: "Please! No Congressional led audit will ever convince those voters, particularly when the President will continue to claim the election was stolen."

The simple truth, Mr. Romney said, "is that President-elect (Joe) Biden won this election. President Trump lost." - AP

5.30 am

Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen says Capitol riot 'intolerable attack'

Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen says the violent pro-Trump protest at the U.S. Capitol was an "intolerable attack on a fundamental institution" of democracy.

Mr. Rosen said Wednesday that the Justice Department has been working with U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement agencies to secure the Capitol. He says hundreds of federal agents from Justice Department agencies were sent to assist.

He called it an "unacceptable situation" and said federal prosecutors "intend to enforce the laws of our land."

Dozens of President Donald Trump's supporters breached the security perimeter and entered the Capitol as Congress was meeting, expected to vote and affirm Joe Biden’s presidential win. They were seen fighting with officers both inside the building and outside. - AP

4.40 am

Woman shot inside U.S. Capitol during riot has died

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

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   | Photo Credit: AP

 

A woman who was shot inside the U.S. Capitol during the violent pro-Trump protest has died.

That’s according to two officials familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorised to speak publicly.

The Metropolitan Police Department said it was taking the lead on the shooting investigation. Police did not immediately provide details about the circumstances of the shooting.

Dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump breached the security perimeter and entered the Capitol as Congress was meeting, expected to vote and affirm Joe Biden’s presidential win. They were seen fighting with officers both inside the building and outside. - AP

4.20 am

Capitol complex secure after violent occupation

Officials have declared the U.S. Capitol complex "secure" after heavily armed police moved to end a nearly four-hour violent occupation by supporters of President Donald Trump.

An announcement saying "the Capitol is secure" rang out on Wednesday evening inside a secure location for officials of the House. Lawmakers applauded.

The occupation interrupted Congress’ Electoral College count that will formalise President-elect Joe Biden’s upcoming inauguration on January 20.

A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump leaves a note in the office of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he protest inside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021. Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification.

A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump leaves a note in the office of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he protest inside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021. Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification.   | Photo Credit: AFP

 

Lawmakers were evacuated to secure locations around the Capitol complex and Washington, D.C. after thousands of Trump supporters breached the building and skirmished with police officers.

Lawmakers have signaled that they would resume the constitutionally mandated count as soon as it was safe to do so. - AP

4.10 am

Police use tear gas to clear Capitol grounds

Police are using tear gas and percussion grenades to begin clearing pro-Trump protesters from the grounds of the U.S. Capitol ahead of a curfew in Washington.

Police donned gas masks as they moved in Wednesday evening with force to clear protesters from the Capitol grounds shortly before a curfew took hold. In the moments before, there were violent clashes between the police and protesters, who tore railing for the inauguration scaffolding and threw it at the officers.

Police used tear gas and percussion grenades to break up the crowd, which began dispersing.

Police said at least one person was shot inside the Capitol; their condition was not immediately known.

The district’s police chief said at least 13 people were arrested, and five firearms had been recovered during the pro-Trump protests on Wednesday. - AP

4.10 am

5 weapons recovered, 13 arrests at D.C. protests

The Washington, D.C. Police Chief says at least five weapons have been recovered and at least 13 people have been arrested so far in pro-Trump protests.

The mostly maskless crowd stormed the Capitol earlier on Wednesday as lawmakers were meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. One person was shot; their condition is unknown.

Police Chief Robert Contee called the attack a riot.

As darkness began to set in, law enforcement officials were working their way toward the protesters, using percussion grenades to try to clear the area around the Capitol. Big clouds of tear gas were visible.

Police were in full riot gear. They moved down the West steps, clashing with demonstrators. - AP

4 am

Pro-Trump demonstrators swarm capitals across U.S.

Pro-Trump demonstrators have massed outside statehouses across the country, forcing evacuations in at least two States. In St. Paul, Minnesota, cheers rang out from demonstrators in reaction to the news that supporters of President Donald Trump had stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Hundreds of mostly unmasked people people gathered outside capitols on Wednesday with Trump flags and "Stop the Steal" signs. In Georgia and Oklahoma, some demonstrators carried guns.

New Mexico State police evacuated staff from a statehouse building that includes the governor’s and secretary of state’s offices as a precaution shortly after hundreds of flag-waving supporters arrived in a vehicle caravan and on horseback. A spokesperson for the Governor's office says there was no indication of threats at the statehouse.

The staff of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox was sent home as several hundred pro-Trump demonstrators rallied outside the Capitol, though the demonstration remained relatively calm. A brief scuffle between pro-Trump demonstrators, who included members of the Proud Boys, and counterprotesters broke out in Columbus, Ohio, but there was no immediate threat to the Capitol. - AP

3.50 am

Washington D.C. protesters used chemical irritants on police

The police chief of Washington, D.C., said pro-Trump protesters deployed "chemical irritants" on police in order to break into the U.S. Capitol.

Police Chief Robert Contee said officials have declared the scene a riot. One civilian was shot inside the Capitol on Wednesday. Thirteen arrests were made of people from out of the area.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said the behavior of the Trump supporters was "shameful, unpatriotic and above all is unlawful." She said, "There will be law and order and this behavior will not be tolerated."

Metropolitan police have been sent to the Capitol, and authorities were coming in from Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey to help out. The National Guard was also deployed, as were Homeland Security investigators and Secret Service.

Mr. Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to fight Congress' formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win. He held a rally earlier Wednesday and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, telling them to "get rid of the weak Congress people" and saying, "get the weak ones get out; this is the time for strength." - AP

3.30 am

Trump tells 'very special' protesters to go home

President Donald Trump, in a video message, is urging supporters to "go home" but is also keeping up false attacks about the Presidential election.

The video was issued more than two hours after protesters began storming the Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers convened for an extraordinary joint session to confirm the Electoral College results and President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Mr. Trump opened his video, saying, "I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now."

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they invade the Inauguration platform of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they invade the Inauguration platform of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AFP

He also went on to call the supporters "very special." He also said, "we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You're very special."

Republican lawmakers and previous administration officials had begged Mr. Trump to give a statement to his supporters to quell the violence. The statement came as authorities struggled to take control of a chaotic situation at the Capitol that led to the evacuation of lawmakers. - AP

3.20 am

Explosive device found near Capitol amid protest

At least one explosive device has been found near the U.S. Capitol amid a violent occupation of the building by supporters of President Donald Trump.

Law enforcement officials said the device was no longer a threat on Wednesday afternoon.

People shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

People shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.   | Photo Credit: AP

Thousands of supporters of the President occupied the Capitol complex as lawmakers were beginning to tally the electoral votes that will formalise President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Vice President Mike Pence has called on protesters to leave the Capitol immediately, going further than Mr. Trump, who merely called for his supporters to "remain peaceful." - AP

3.10 am

Media captures unprecedented storming of U.S. Capitol

The storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump played out on national television and social media in searing fashion Wednesday.

The pictures were stunning: security officials with guns drawn on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, people fighting with police in the Capitol Rotunda, rioters smashing windows and streaming into the building where the nation's leaders had gathered to count votes sealing President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Reporters and anchors described scenes of bedlam and fear, questioning how security and the nation's leaders did not anticipate it.

3 am

Trump calls for peace, tells protesters to go home

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday called for peace and told protesters to go home after hundreds of demonstrators stormed the U.S. Capitol building and sought to force Congress to undo his election loss.

Mr. Trump, in a video on Twitter, repeated an unsupported claim the election was stolen, but said "you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order." - Reuters

2.51 am

U.K. PM Johnson calls for end to 'disgraceful scenes' in Washington

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for an end to the "disgraceful scenes" in Washington, where protesters on Wednesday stormed the U.S. Capitol in a bid to undo President Donald Trump’s election loss.

"Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress," Mr. Johnson said on Twitter. "The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power." - Reuters

2.50 am

Joe Biden denounces protesters' violence at Capitol

President-elect Joe Biden has called the violent protests on the U.S. Capitol "an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people’s business."

Mr. Biden also demanded President Donald Trump to immediately make a televised address calling on his supporters to cease the violence that he described as an “unprecedented assault’ as pro-Trump protestors violently occupy U.S. Capitol.

Mr. Biden's condemnation came after violent protesters breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, forcing a delay in the constitutional process to affirm the President-elect’s victory in the November election.

Mr. Biden addressed the violent protests as authorities struggled to take control of a chaotic situation at the Capitol that led to the evacuation of lawmakers. - AP

2.50 am

Mike Pence calls on protesters to leave Capitol

Vice President Mike Pence is calling on protesters to leave the Capitol immediately, going further than President Donald Trump who merely called for his supported to "remain peaceful."

In a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Pence said, "This attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Mr. Pence, long a loyal aide to the President, defied Mr. Trump earlier on Wednesday, telling him he didn't have the power to discard electoral votes that will make Democrat Joe Biden the next President on January 20. Mr. Trump had publicly called on Mr. Pence to overturn the will of the voters, but Mr. Pence's constitutional role in the process was only ceremonial.

Angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a chaotic protest aimed at thwarting the peaceful transfer of power. Mr. Trump later issued a restrained call for peace but did not ask his supporters to disperse. - AP

2.45 am

1,100 DC National Guard members being mobilized

The Pentagon says about 1,100 D.C. National Guard members are being mobilised to help support law enforcement as violent supporters of President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol.

Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said on Wednesday afternoon that defense leaders have been in contact with the city and congressional leadership.

A defense official said all 1,100 of the D.C. Guard were being activated and sent to the city’s armory. The Guard forces will be used at checkpoints and for other similar duties and could also help in the enforcement of the 6 p.m. curfew being implemented tonight in the city.

The officials said the D.C. request for National Guard was not rejected earlier in the day. Instead, according to officials, the Guard members have a very specific mission that does not include putting military in a law enforcement role at the Capitol. As a result, the Guard must be used to backfill law enforcement outside the Capitol complex, freeing up more law enforcement to respond to the Capitol.

Mr. Hoffman said the law enforcement response to the violence will be led by the Justice Department. - AP

2.35 am

Schumer, Pelosi to Trump: Make protesters leave

The top Democrats in Congress are demanding that President Donald Trump order his supporters to leave the Capitol following a chaotic protest aimed at blocking a peaceful transfer of power.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a joint statement after violent protesters stormed the Capitol. They said, "We are calling on President Trump to demand that all protestors leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately.”

Mr. Trump earlier encouraged his supporters occupying the U.S. Capitol to "remain peaceful," but he did not call for them to disperse. He held a rally earlier on Wednesday in which he repeated his false claims that President-elect Joe Biden had won the election through voter fraud.

He urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, telling them to “get rid of the weak Congress people" and saying, "get the weak ones get out; this is the time for strength." - AP

2.30 am

White House says National Guard going to Capitol

The White House says National Guard troops along with other federal protective services are en route to the Capitol to help end an violent occupation by President Donald Trump’s supporters who are seeking to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted that "At President @realDonaldTrump’s direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services."

She added, "We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful."

Republican lawmakers have publicly called for Mr. Trump to more vocally condemn the violence and to call to an end to the occupation, which halted a joint session of Congress where lawmakers were beginning to count electoral votes.

Mr. Trump lost the November election to Democrat Joe Biden. He has refused to concede and has worked over the last two months to convince his supporters that widespread voter fraud prevented his own victory.

2.10 am

One person shot as Trump backers storm Capitol

One person has been shot at the U.S. Capitol as dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building and violently clashed with police.

That’s according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity amid a chaotic situation.

The exact circumstances surrounding the shooting were unclear. The person said the victim had been taken to a hospital. Their condition was not known.

The shooting came as dozens of Trump supporters breached security perimeters and entered the U.S. Capitol as Congress was meeting, expected to vote and affirm Joe Biden’s presidential win. Mr. Trump has riled up his supporters by falsely claiming widespread voter fraud to explain his loss. - AP

2.10 am

Trump tells backers to stay peaceful at Capitol

President Donald Trump is encouraging supporters occupying the U.S. Capitol to "remain peaceful," but he is not calling for them to disperse.

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.   | Photo Credit: AP

As he faced growing pressure from allies to condemn the violence Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump tweeted, "No violence!" adding: "Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue."

But Mr. Trump did not ask supporters to vacate the area as the unrest continued.

Mr. Trump had appeared earlier at a rally and had urged his supporters to march to the Capitol — at one point even suggesting he would join them. He is upset that he lost the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden and has falsely claimed voter fraud to explain it away.

He also urged his supporters to "get rid of the weak Congress people" — presumably through primary challenges — saying, "get the weak ones get out; this is the time for strength." - AP

2.05 am

Department of Homeland Security sending additional federal agents

The Department of Homeland Security is sending additional federal agents to the U.S. Capitol to help quell violence from supporters of President Donald Trump who are protesting Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

A spokesperson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that officers from the Federal Protective Service and U.S. Secret Service agents are being sent to the scene. He says they were requested to assist by U.S. Capitol Police.

Dozens of Mr. Trump's supporters breached security perimeters and entered the Capitol as Congress was meeting, expected to vote and affirm Joe Biden’s presidential win. They were seen fighting with officers both inside the building and outside.

Mr. Trump has riled up his supporters by falsely claiming widespread voter fraud to explain his loss. - AP

2 am

Georgia Secretary of State's office evacuated

Georgia’s Secretary of State and his staff have evacuated their offices at the State Capitol as armed protesters gathered outside.

Gabriel Sterling, a top elections official, said that it was an internal decision made by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to have his team leave.

“We saw stuff happening at the Georgia Capitol and said we should not be around here, we should not be a spark,” Mr. Sterling told The Associated Press.

About 100 protesters gathered at the State Capitol in Atlanta on Wednesday to protest President Donald Trump’s election loss. Some were armed with long guns.

Mr. Trump has focused much of his ire on Raffensperger in the weeks following his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in Georgia by about 12,000 votes. - AP

1.30 am

Pro-Trump protesters enter Senate chamber

Protesters are now inside the Senate chamber. One got up on the dais and yelled "Trump won that election."

Several dozen are roaming through the halls, yelling, "Where are they?"

Some were also in the visitors’ galleries.

1.20 am

Lawmakers told to put on gas masks

Lawmakers inside the House chamber were told to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda.

A chaplain prayed as police guarded the doors to the chamber and lawmakers tried to gather information about what was happening.

An announcement was played inside the Capitol as lawmakers were meeting and expected to vote to affirm Joe Biden's victory. Due to an "external security threat," no one could enter or exit the Capitol complex, the recording said.

Both chambers abruptly went into recess. The District of Columbia's Mayor, Muriel Bowser, issued a curfew for 6 p.m.

The skirmishes occurred outside in the very spot where President-elect Biden will be inaugurated in just two weeks.

Protesters tore down metal barricades at the bottom of the Capitol’s steps and were met by officers in riot gear. Some tried to push past the officers who held shields and officers could be seen firing pepper spray into the crowd to keep them back. Some in the crowd were shouting "traitors" as officers tried to keep them back.

A suspicious package was also reported in the area, Capitol Police said.

1.15 am

Lawmakers are being evacuated

Lawmakers are being evacuated from the U.S. Capitol after protestors breached security and entered the building.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senators were led out, escorted by staff and police on Wednesday afternoon. Members of the House were also being evacuated. Both chambers had been debating the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.

The skirmishes came shortly after President Donald Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud.

Protesters could be seen marching through the Capitol’s stately Statuary Hall shouting and waving Trump banners and American flags.

Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.

1.10 am

Washington Mayor orders curfew

The mayor of Washington, D.C., has ordered a curfew in the nation’s capital beginning at 6 p.m. (local time) on Wednesday after protestors seeking to overturn the election results stormed the U.S. Capitol building.

Trump supporters gather on the Washington Monument grounds in advance of a rally Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

Trump supporters gather on the Washington Monument grounds in advance of a rally Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.   | Photo Credit: AP

Mayor Muriel Bowser issued the order as protestors supporting President Donald Trump breached the Capitol, where lawmakers were meeting to formally count the electors that will make Joe Biden president on January 20.

The order extends through 6 a.m. (local time) on Thursday.

The skirmishes came shortly after Mr. Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud.

1 am

Trump supporters breach U.S. Capitol

Protesting supporters of President Donald Trump have breached the U.S. Capitol.

There was confusion in the House chamber as the Capitol doors were locked and the debate over the electoral count was suspended.

A representative from the Capitol police spoke from a lectern on the dais and told lawmakers to remain calm, and that more information would be available soon.

Trump supporters rally on January 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepared to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud.

Trump supporters rally on January 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepared to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud.   | Photo Credit: AP

 

House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern of Massachusetts told the crowd that the House expected to go back into session soon. Meanwhile, members milled around the floor and looked at their phones.

Reporters and others outside the chamber were told to go their seats inside and not leave.

The skirmishes came just shortly after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 4:00:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-capitol-breach-live-updates-5-weapons-recovered-13-arrests-at-dc-protests/article33515379.ece

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