US: Pro-Trump mob storms Capitol, four die in rampage
The United States Capitol, one of the most iconic structures of the oldest democracy in the world, slipped into chaos and mayhem on Wednesday after hundreds of Donald Trump supporters stormed the building to disrupt a ceremonial session of Congress that was convened to formally announce President-elect Joe Biden's victory. They breached walls, clashed with cops, and the rampage left four people dead.
After 1 pm (local time), Trump supporters, who are convinced that he won, managed to rupture the security set along the perimeter of Capitol — they threw barricades aside and smashed windows. At one point during the incident, security forces took out guns while the National Guard troops were called in to control the crowd. One deceased woman was shot at by cops, reports NBC.
The joint session of Congress was presided over by Vice-President Mike Pence. He was taken out of the Senate Chamber by law enforcement agencies when Trump's supporters wreaked havoc. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the Senate president pro tem, was also rushed to a secure location. Quite obviously, the session was adjourned. Journalists feared for their safety and some lawmakers were seen praying.
The mob managed to enter the Senate chamber, with some of them even taking the marble dais that Pence had been occupying a short while ago. Fortunately, the boxes having Electoral College certificates were secured, to ensure that invaders don't whisk it away. "If our capable floor staff hadn't grabbed them, they would have been burned by the mob," said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
The rioters were armed as well. Law enforcement agencies told NBC that improvised explosive devices were found on Capitol grounds. "Two suspected explosive devices were rendered safe by the FBI and our law enforcement partners. The investigation is ongoing," a spokesperson from the agency said. DC Police informed that three people were arrested and at least five weapons were recovered from the premises.
The mob, many argued, was incited by Trump. Since his loss in the November election, he has been leveling unfounded allegations on Democrats, accusing them of "stealing the results." While addressing his supporters near the White House earlier, he said, "We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn't happen. You don't concede when there's theft involved."
After hours of bedlam, sergeant-at-arms, the top security official at the Capitol, declared that the building was secured around 5:40 pm. Subsequently, the lawmakers returned to reconvene the session. Lambasting the mob, Pence, a loyal lieutenant of Trump, said, "You did not win today." Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky took the same tone saying, "They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed."