by Delphine Luneau and Ted O’Neil
Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday afternoon, interrupting the congressional session that was meeting to confirm the Electoral College votes.
Hundreds of protesters were shown on television news coverage walking through Statuary Hall without having gone through any security checkpoints. Debate was halted, and lawmakers were ordered to return to their offices and shelter in place. Legislators were told they may need to hide under their chairs and to be quiet and not draw attention to themselves.
Vice President Mike Pence and some lawmakers were evacuated from the building, and media reports indicated that there was an armed standoff between law enforcement officials and protesters.
The protesters appeared to have come from a rally earlier in the day in which Trump condemned, as he has repeatedly since November, the results of the Nov. 3 election that made former Vice President Joe Biden the president-elect.
BREAKING: revolution in process as Trump supporters break into the Capitol building, attacking police, breaking windows, and knocking down doors
Full anarchy at this “mostly peaceful” demonstration DC
The people have pushed through & are storming to main chambers pic.twitter.com/NW6VDDNBQw
— ELIJAH SCHAFFER (@ElijahSchaffer) January 6, 2021
If this was any other country, say Belarus, the mainstream media would be on the side of the people not the government. It's only in America that the media wants unfair and unfree elections. pic.twitter.com/AgybuSGloA
— Keean Bexte (@TheRealKeean) January 6, 2021
Protesters are now on the Senate floor in the Capitol building
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) January 6, 2021
Capitol Police put out calls to several other agencies to provide assistance after getting overrun, and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has put in place a 6 p.m. curfew and asked for the Washington, D.C., National Guard to be called up; a Washington Post reporter said that the Defense Department rejected the request for troops to be deployed.
Trump didn’t directly address the actions of the protesters but he did ask them to avoid violence, tweeting “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
The sight of massive crowds halting the democratic process in the nation’s capital city was jarring to observers, some of whom laid the blame for the crowd’s actions at the president’s feet.
“This is a coup attempt,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. Then, addressing Trump, he wrote, “You are not protecting the country. Where is the DC guard? You are done and your legacy will be a disaster.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, one of the architects of an effort to object to the certification of Biden’s victory, urged the protesters not to turn to violence.
“Violence is always unacceptable,” he tweeted. “Even when passions run high. Anyone engaged in violence – especially against law enforcement – should be fully prosecuted.”
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Delphine Luneau is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience. She was the editor of Suburban Life Media when its flagship was named best weekly in Illinois, and she has worked at papers in South Carolina, Indiana, Idaho and New York.
Ted O’Neil is a contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “Trump Supporters” by Global News.