Metro Weekly

Protesters breach U.S. Capitol Building as pro-Trump demonstrations spiral out of control

D.C. Mayor announces 6 p.m. curfew for all District of Columbia residents.

Pictures of the protesters who breached the Capitol building – Photo: C-SPAN.

Pro-Trump protesters breached the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, entering the building and forcing proceedings to grind to a halt, prompting Capitol Police to put the building under lockdown.

The protesters pushed past police who had been trying to block them from entering the building as senators and representatives were debating the certification of the 2020 presidential election and President-elect Joe Biden’s win. They were some of thousands of Trump supporters who had descended upon the nation’s capital to protest what they believe were fraudulent votes cast (through no-excuse absentee voting, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic) in November.

President Donald Trump, who has continued to dispute the results, encourage his supporters to attend the various rallies in Washington, D.C. Speaking to the throngs of people, he asserted that he, not Biden, was the legitimate winner of the election.

Members of Congress and the media reported being cloistered and locked in various Hill offices to protect themselves from the mob. The Rev. Al Sharpton, a longtime civil rights activist and former Democratic presidential candidate, speculated during an appearance on MSNBC that the Capitol had been breached so easily that there may have been sympathizers among the ranks of Capitol Police that allowed the protesters to enter the building, unimpeded.

Trump later tweeted a warning to his followers, telling them to “stay peaceful.”

“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement,” he tweeted. “They are truly on the side of our Country.”

Yet videos shared on Twitter showed protesters scuffling with Capitol Police, throwing punches, spitting on them, and throwing unknown objects at them. 

A spokesperson for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services said there had been “multiple injuries” sustained as a result of the protests, according to NBC News. At least one person was shot, though it is unclear what precipitated the altercation, and it could not be confirmed whether the person had been shot by Capitol Police or someone else.

In response to the protests both inside and outside of the Capitol, and the overwhelming strain that had been placed on law enforcement officials, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a 6 p.m. curfew for all District residents, lasting 12 hours until 6 a.m. on Thursday morning.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted that, at Bowser’s request, he would be sending members of the Virginia National Guard, along with 200 Virginia State Troopers, to help assist D.C. law enforcement in keeping order. 

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) of Maryland said he had ordered Maryland State Police to send in troopers to assist MPD and U.S. Capitol Police, and had instructed the Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard to call up a “rapid response force.”

“All Americans should be outraged by this attack on our nation’s Capitol,” Hogan tweeted. “This is a heinous and violent assault on the heart of our democracy. I will not stand for this, and neither should any American.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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