It is reminiscent of a coup: Donald Trump’s supporters have broken into the Capitol, where the election result was about to be confirmed. The US president had previously encouraged them to do so.
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Protests by angry supporters of the elected US President Donald Trump in the capital Washington escalated on Wednesday and plunged the political center of the US into chaos. While Congress was in session at the Capitol in Washington, protesters stormed the building.
The police tried to hold the protesters back in front of the building. TV images showed violent clashes and the use of tear gas. Four people were killed in the riot. It was hours later that Congress demonstratively resumed its deliberations in order to finally seal Trump’s defeat in the election. You can also see the recordings from on site in the video above or here.
Tear gas in front of the Capitol: There were riots in front of the parliament building, demonstrators broke into the building. (Source: Julio Cortez / AP / dpa)
A dead after being shot
The National Guard was mobilized in the face of the unrest. At the Capitol, armed security forces swarmed through the rooms to catch the troublemakers. In Washington, a curfew went into effect until early Thursday morning. A night curfew has also been imposed on the neighboring cities of Arlington and Alexandria.
After Trump supporters stormed the Capitol by force, a woman was shot – she died a little later, as a police spokeswoman for the dpa news agency confirmed on Wednesday evening (local time). According to the police, three other people were also killed on the parliamentary grounds. They died due to medical emergencies. 52 people were arrested.
In the Capitol: Police officers with guns drawn watch protesters try to break into the Chamber of the House of Representatives in the US Capitol. (Source: J. Scott Applewhite / AP / dpa)
Protests in Washington: Trump supporters gather around the Capitol. (Source: John Minchillo / AP / dpa)
TV pictures showed how rioters smashed windows, thus gaining access to the building and also breaking into parliamentary offices. In another picture, a protester posed in the vacated Senate Chamber with a raised fist in the chairman’s seat. Members of the House of Representatives were given gas masks because tear gas was used. The Washington Post reported that there had also been tear gas in the Senate Chamber.
In the meantime it was said that two office buildings in the vicinity had been evacuated at short notice after a bomb threat had occurred, as the broadcaster Fox News and the Washington Post wrote. CNN reported that at least two explosives were found in Washington, both in the Capitol and in the buildings of the National Republican Committee. The FBI is in action, writes NBC.
CNN also reported, citing an insider, that members of the Senate and House of Representatives had been moved to a safe location during the protests. There was talk of Fort McNair, an army base in Washington.
Session continued – MPs blame Trump
Only after several hours did the security forces regain control of the situation at Parliament’s headquarters. Soon after, Congress resumed its work.
The current situation in Washington in the news blog
Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chamber will not be intimidated or bow to outlaws. Senate Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer called the rioters “domestic terrorists.” He made Trump jointly responsible for the attack on the Capitol.
Several Democratic Congressmen also personally blamed Trump for the escalation and called for a new impeachment trial against him. But several Republicans also publicly accused Trump of instigating the riot.
Shortly before the start of the congressional session, Trump appeared in front of his supporters near the Capitol, repeated unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud and called on his supporters to move to the Capitol. You shouldn’t put up with the “theft” of choice.
You can see here how he spurred his supporters on during a speech in front of the Capitol:
Speech in front of the building: This is how Trump incited his supporters at the Capitol. (Source: t-online)
After numerous politicians urged Trump to stop the outbreak of violence, the president published a video message on Twitter calling on his supporters to withdraw. He understands the anger over the outcome of the election, “but you have to go home now,” said Trump in the clip. At the same time he said to the address of his followers: “We love you.” He later wrote in another tweet that such “things and events” just happened when “a landslide victory” was stolen. “Remember that day forever!” He pushed.
Twitter suspends Trump’s account
Twitter finally blocked Trump’s account for twelve hours. Three tweets from the account had “repeatedly and seriously” violated the guidelines of the platform, the short message service explained.
Unlike Trump, US Vice President Mike Pence condemned the riots sharply. Pence chaired the congressional session to certify election results. Trump had called on him directly to oppose the confirmation of Biden’s victory – contrary to the law. Pence, otherwise always loyal to his boss, rejected the request.
Biden condemns events
President-elect Joe Biden condemned the events in a speech: “I call on this mob to step back and let the democratic institutions do their job. I call on President Donald Trump to do his duty and call back his supporters,” he said .
The unrest also raised concerns internationally. Representatives of the German government and heads of government from other countries were just as shocked by the riots as the heads of the EU Parliament and the European Commission. “The enemies of democracy will be happy about these incredible pictures from Washington, DC,” wrote Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Twitter. Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of the American electorate and “stop trampling democracy”.
MPs who had escaped to safety spoke up on social media or by phone on national television. Republican MP Adam Kinzinger, for example, called the CNN incident “disgusting” and “absolutely despicable”. Several Democratic congressmen called for a new impeachment trial against Trump, who personally blamed him for the escalation.
Meeting really just formality
Both chambers of congress met in the Capitol on Wednesday, the results of the US elections from the individual states were read out. When the results were confirmed – usually a formality – several Republican senators and MPs had announced disruptive actions. Read more here. They had announced that they would contradict the election results of individual states and thus force a debate and votes in the two chambers.
For weeks Trump had presented this day of the congressional session – without any basis – as the last chance to overturn the election result. In fact, the election result cannot be shaken. The Republicans’ political disruptive action also had no prospect of success from the start. Several high-ranking Republicans had criticized the planned action of their party colleagues and Trump’s ongoing campaign against the election result as dangerous. One of the supporters, Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, declared in view of the serious riot that she no longer wanted to participate in the action.
Loeffler had recently lost one of the two important Senate races in the US state of Georgia, which decided on the future majority in the Congress of Congresses. According to forecasts by the US media, the Democrats secured control of the powerful US Senate by winning both runoff elections. The Democrats already have a majority in the House of Representatives. Biden, who is to be sworn in on January 20, will effectively rule through until the next congressional elections in two years.