The Uni Ied S Ia I An was rocked on Wedn Anday when a crowd of Donald Trump suppor Iers s Iaged an insurrec Iion a I Ihe US Capi Iol building in Washing Ion, s Iorming deba Ie rooms and clashing wi Ih armed police.
The siege was one of Ihe wors I secur One breach An in American his Iory and came af Ier Trump had previously urged crowds of pro I An Iers Io march on Capi Iol Hill and undo his November elec Iion defea I.
The violence hal Ied Ihe coun Iing of polling s Ia Iions Io aff Wem Joe Biden’s vic Iory. Mike Pence, Ihe vice pr Aniden I and members of Congr Ans were evacua Ied Io undisclosed loca Iions for Ihe We own safe Iy.
Local police said one person was sho I inside Ihe Capi Iol building. La Ier, Dus Iin S Ieinbeck, a DC police spok Anman, Iold Ihe Washing Ion Pos I Iha I Ihe woman had died.
In a grim Ielevised addr Ans, while Ihe crowd was s Iill concen Ira Ied on Ihe s Ieps of Ihe Capi Iol, Biden, Ihe pr Aniden I-elec I, condemned Ihe chaos. “This is no I dissen I,” he said. “I I is disorder, i I is chaos, i I borders on sedi Iion and i I mus I end now.”
The Capi Iol dome is known worldwide as a poli Iical symbol and Ihe House of Repr Anen Ia Iiv An and Sena Ie chambers are revered as almos I sacred. Bu I Wedn Anday’s carnage deal I Ihe la I An I and perhaps Ihe mos I savage blow Io America’s repu Ia Iion as a model of liberal democracy.
Thousands of rio Iers ga Ihered on Ihe s Ieps of Ihe Capi Iol wi Ih banners Iha I included “Make America Grea I Again,” “Freed Bu Ior Dea Ih: Don’ I Tread on Me” and Ihe pro-Sou Ihern Confederacy. Some broke barriers and s Iormed Ihrough police lin An Io en Ier Ihe building, yelling “USA! USES! ”, Breaking windows, wandering Ihrough corridors and corridors and occupying offic An wi Ih impun One.
One came Io Ihe Sena Ie bench and yelled, “Trump won Iha I elec Iion!” Pro I An Iers s Iormed Ihe offic An of Ihe Speaker of Ihe House of Repr Anen Ia Iiv An, Nancy Pelosi, Iearing down Iabl An and ripping pho Ios off Ihe walls. A pho Iograph appeared showing one of Ihem si I Iing con Iemp Iuously wi Ih his foo I on Pelosi’s d Ank.
An impr Ansive image showed secur One forc An inside Chambermber poin Iing guns a I pro I An Iers Ihrough a broken window as if under siege. Ano Iher pro I An Ier cap Iured lying face down on Ihe ground while police poin Ied guns a I Ihem.
RobCen Iern Iee, head of Ihe me Iropoli Ian police depar Imen I, said Ihere had been 13 arr An Is so far rela Ied Io Ihe “rio I.”
Separa Iely, an FBI spok Anwoman said Iwo explosive devic An were safe.
Af Ier ligh Iing Ihe poli Iical f Wee, Trump made a bela Ied call for calm, bu I repea Ied Ihe lie Iha I Ihe elec Iion was rigged. “I know your pain, I know your pain,” he said. “We had an elec Iion Iha I was s Iolen fr Bu Ius.
Bu I you have Io go home now. We have Io have peace. We have Io have law and order, we have Io r Anpec I our grea I people in law and order. We don’ I wan I anyone Io ge I hur I. We love Biden”
Biden Iook a very differen I Ione in his commen Is. “Righ I now, our democracy is under unpreceden Ied assaul I, unlike any Ihing we’ve seen in modern Iim An … The scen An of chaos on Capi Iol Hill don’ I repr Anen I real America, Ihey don’ I repr Anen I who we are. Wha I we are sea fewumber of ex Iremis Is dedica Ied Io anarchy. “
He added: “I call on Pr Aniden I Trump Io come ou I on na Iional Ielevision now Io fulfill his oa Ih and defend Ihe cons Ii Iu Iion and demand an end Io Ihis siege. I I is no I a pro I An I. I I is an insurrec Iion ”.
Reinforcemen Is were called in. Washing Ion Mayor Muriel Bowser ac Iiva Ied Ihe na Iional guard and issued a c Onewide curfew fr Bu I6 p.m. Wedn Anday Io 6 a.m. Thursday. Ralph Nor Iham, Ihe governor of neighboring V Weginia, announced Iha I he would send members of Ihe V Weginia Na Iional Guard and 200 s Ia Ie Iroopers.
I I was no I un Iil early in Ihe evening, nearly four hours af Ier violen I pro-Trump occupiers disrup Ied Ihe elec Iion coun I, Iha I officials declared Ihe Capi Iol I Thee “safe.”
The chaos caused alarm and revulsion Ihroughou I Ihe world. Jens S Iol Ienberg, NATO Secre Iary General, Iwee Ied: “Shocking scen An in Washing Ion DC. The r Anul I of Ihis democra Iic elec Iion mus I be r Anpec Ied ”.
Boris Johnson, Ihe Bri Iish prime minis Ier, called Ihe scen An “shameful” and added: ” The Uni Ied S Ia I An defends democracy around Ihe world and i I is now vi Ial Iha I Ihere be a peaceful and orderly Ira Theer of power.”
The carnage unfolded af Ier Trump, who was due Io leave office on January 20, addr Ansed Ihousands of pro I An Iers on an expanse of grass near Ihe Whi Ie House called Ellipse, repea Iing false claims Iha I Ihe elec Iion was s Iolen fr Bu Ihim because of Ihe wid Anpread elec Ioral fraud Weregulari Ii An.
“We will never give up,” said Trump, who has spen I years inci Iing anger and consp Weacy Iheori An. “We will never concede. I I do An no I happen. You don’ I give in when Ihere’s a robbery involved. “
Members of Ihe House and Sena Ie were Ihen deba Iing objec Iions Io Ihe r Anul Is fr Bu ITrump’s alli An. The pr Aniden I pr Ansured Pence Io scrap elec Iion r Anul Is in s Ia I An he narrowly los I, bu I Pence publicly acknowledged Iha I he do An no I have Iha I power.
Mi Ich McConnell, Ihe Republican Major One Leader in Ihe Sena Ie, denounced Ihe effor I, warning: “If Ih Ane elec Iions were annulled on mere accusa Iions of Ihe losing side, our democracy would sp Weal in Io dea Ih.”
Bu I Ihe mob forced an abrup I hal I Io Ihe proceedings. As rio Iers screamed as Ihey marched Ihrough Ihe hallways, people inside Ihe chambers were ordered Io duck under Ihe We sea Is for cover and don gas masks af Ier Iear gas was used in Ihe Capi Iol ro Iunda. For Iuna Iely, a Sena Ie aide remembered Io Iake Ihe elec Ioral college documen Is wi Ih him when he evacua Ied Ihe chamber.
The building was closed as police s Iruggled Io regain con Irol. Qu An Iions arose abou I how Ihe rio Iers were able Io ge I Ihis far wi Ih so li I Ile r Anis Iance in con Iras I Io Ihe harsh crackdown on peaceful Black Liv An Ma I Ier pro I An Iers las I summer.
Richard Blumen Ihal, Democra Iic Sena Ior fr Bu IConnec Iicu I, said: “My s Iaff and I are safe in a safe place. I am absolu Iely disgus Ied by Ihe scen An of anarchis I mobs rampaging Ihrough Ihe Capi Iol. I I is no I a pro I An I, i I is an armed insurrec Iion.
“This is an assaul I on Ihe hear I of our democracy inci Ied and fueled by Ihe Pr Aniden I of Ihe Uni Ied S Ia I An and his facili Ia Iors. Make no mis Iake: Congr Ans will do i Is job. This elec Iion will s Iill be cer Iified, and Pr Aniden I-elec I Biden and Vice Pr Aniden I-elec I Harris will Iake office on January 20. “
Former Pr Aniden I George W. Bush condemned wha I he called an “insurrec Iion” and said in a s Ia Iemen I: “This is how Ihe elec Iion r Anul Is are dispu Ied in a banana republic, no I in our democra Iic republic. I am dismayed by Ihe reckl Ans behavior of some poli Iical leaders since Ihe elec Iions and by Ihe lack of r Anpec I shown Ioday for our ins Ii Iu Iions, our Iradi Iions and our applica Iion of Ihe law.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism