(Sharecast News) – One woman died and Washington was under curfew after a mob supporting US President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building as lawmakers were certifying Joe Biden’s election victory.
A large number of protestors had gathered as the Senate began the largely ceremonial process of counting the Electoral College vote. Around 1400 local time (1900 GMT), the protest turned into a riot as a large number managed to break past security barricades and into the Capitol building itself.
Members of Congress and staff inside the building were ordered by local safety officials to shelter in their offices. A woman was shot and died of her injuries later in hospital, Washington police confirmed, although the details were not immediately clear.
A group of rioters also made their way into the Senate chamber, and another was pictured sitting at the desk of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi inside her office.
The national guard was called to help to secure the Capitol, which had been placed under curfew for 12 hours from 1800 local time. The Army is activating the entire District of Columbia National Guard – 1,100 troops – in response to a request from the mayor, an Army official said.
The violence had put a slight dampener on stocks in New York, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling more than 200 points as the news broke mid-afternoon.
It still managed to close in positive territory, however, rising 1.44% to 30,829.40 as media outlets began to call both Senate seats being contested in the Georgia run-off election for the Democrats, giving the party effective control of the Senate, and make it far easier Biden to enact his policies.
BIDEN CONDEMNS TRUMP FOR INCITING SUPPORTERS
The riot began to dissipate as police from DC and surrounding areas moved on the crowds using tear gas and percussion grenades, although there were still a number of rioters in and around the Capitol as night fell. Washington mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a curfew in the city from 6pm local time.
Trump had held a rally nearby where he stirred up his supporters, repeating baseless claims of electoral fraud. He urged them to march on the Capitol, pledging to join them, but then left the event with his entourage and drove back to the White House.
Lawmakers said they would resume the certification process on Wednesday night. Biden had earlier abandoned a scheduled speech on the economy and addressed Trump directly, demanding the president order the mob to return home.
“I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfil his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege,” Biden said.
“At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite.”
“This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition, and it must end now. I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward.”
House of Representatives speaker, the Democrat Nancy Pelosi, said lawmakers would resume counting Electoral College votes on Wednesday and vowed the attack would not “deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden”.
Pelosi had consulted with her leadership team and a series of calls with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and Vice-President Mike Pence. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said that the vote would resume at 2000 local time.
“We always knew this responsibility would take us into the night,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues. “We also knew that we would be a part of history in a positive way today, despite ill-founded objections to the Electoral College vote. We now will be part of history, as such a shameful picture of our country was put out to the world, instigated at the highest level.”
(additional reporting by Frank Prenesti)