Biden blasts Trump supporters’ ‘siege’ of Capitol

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President-elect Joe Biden has blown up the “uprising” of pro-Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol in a riot in which a woman was shot.

The Democrat called on the outgoing President Donald Trump to “intensify” and reject the violence.

Mr Trump, who urged protesters to march on Congress, later asked them to “go home”.

A joint session of Congress confirming Mr Biden’s election victory was suspended by the chaos and forced into recess.

The protesters fought their way past the police to break through the US Capitol. They yelled and waved Trump and US flags as they roamed the halls, demanding that the presidential election results be overturned.

In breathtaking scenes that beamed around the world, the invasion caused members of Congress to take cover under their seats when a shot rang out and tear gas was fired in the Capitol rotunda.

A civilian woman shot dead during the chaos in the U.S. Capitol has died, a Metropolitan Police Department spokesman said.

Federal police officers say two suspected explosive devices have been found, both of which were brought to safety on Capitol Hill by the FBI and police.

The rampage came when two Democrats won Senate seats in Georgia’s elections, which shifted the balance of Congress to effective political control over their party and helped pass the agenda of Mr Biden after his inauguration on January 20.

  • In pictures: Pro-Trump protesters storm the Capitol
  • Democrats take control of the Senate with Georgia wins

What did Biden say?

The Democrat, who defeated the Republican President in the November White House election, said the protesters’ activity “verges on turmoil”.

Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, he also said that democracy was “facing an unprecedented attack”.

“I urge President Trump to go on national television now to keep his oath, defend the constitution and call for an end to this siege,” he said.

Media signatureJoe Biden: The scenes of chaos in the Capitol don’t reflect real America, don’t represent who we are

“Storm the Capitol, break the windows, occupy offices on the United States Senate floor, rummage through desks in the House of Representatives and threaten the safety of duly elected officials.

“It’s not a protest; it’s a riot.”

What did Trump say?

Mr Trump responded in a video recorded on Twitter, reiterating his unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud.

“I know your pain. I know that you are hurt,” said the president.

“We had a choice that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.

“But you have to go home now. We have to be at peace.”

Media signature“We will never give up, we will never admit,” Trump told fans

For the first time, Twitter frozen Mr Trump’s account. The social media company announced that it would keep the account banned for 12 hours and called for the deletion of three tweets that it claimed could incite violence and face “permanent suspension.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Trump addressed the White House on a “Save America Rally”.

He had urged the followers to go to the Capitol and said, “Our country has had enough and we will not take it anymore.”

What happened in the Capitol?

Little is known about the deceased woman, but disturbing shots from the scene show how she slumped on the floor with blood on her face. The police have not yet released their identity and it is unclear who fired the shot.

The protesters stormed up the Capitol steps at around 2:15 p.m. local time (7:15 p.m. GMT) and pushed past barricades and officers in riot gear to enter the building.

The mob, some of whom wore body armor, used chemical irritants to attack the police, according to Robert Contee, Washington city police chief.

They marched through the building shouting, “Where are you?” and “We want to sing Trump”.

One climbed the Senate podium and shouted, “Trump won this election.” Another protester was photographed with one foot on the table in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Members of Congress – including Vice President-elect Kamala Harris – were asked to vacate the building or to stay where they were. A chaplain prayed as the police guarded the doors to the chamber of the house.

Thousands of National Guard troops, FBI agents, and US intelligence were deployed to assist the Capitol’s overwhelmed police force.

After several hours of occupation, the NCO – the Senate Executive Office – announced that the building had been secured by law enforcement agencies.

Despite a curfew imposed by the city’s mayor from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. (11:00 p.m. to 11:00 a.m. GMT), there was little evidence that the protesters followed Mr Trump’s request home.

Meanwhile, a suspicious device was found outside the headquarters of the Republican National Committee near the Capitol Complex, which was detonated by a bomb squad.

Image rightsReutersImage descriptionTear gas is used to disperse protesters in the Capitol

The Washington DC Metropolitan Police said five guns had been confiscated. At least 13 people were arrested.

Vice President Mike Pence had urged the rioters to leave the Capitol immediately, saying the violence and destruction must “stop now.”

There were also protests against state legislatures in Kansas, Georgia, Utah and across the country in Oregon and northwest Washington state.

Image rightsReuters

“Hand the building over to us”

By Laura Trevelyan, BBC News, Washington

Hundreds of loyal Trump supporters were crammed together on the steps of Capitol Hill while armed police nearby kept a watchful eye.

The mood was tense and defiant.

“Were not [expletive] Antifa! “Yelled one man at the police, referring to the loose coalition of” anti-fascist “activists opposing Mr. Trump.

Trump loyalists near him waved posters saying “Show us the ballot papers.”

“We just want the Capitol Police to step down and hand the building over to us,” one man told the news cameras when he was filmed by other Trump supporters.

The belief was that President Trump’s election was stolen and that lawmakers in the building should do their duty and somehow award him the election.

It doesn’t matter that election officials confirmed the results and the courts dismissed Trump campaign charges for fraud because there was no evidence.

What did the demonstrators have in their sights?

A joint session of Congress was held to confirm Mr Biden’s election victory on November 3rd.

The process is usually brief and ceremonial, but the Republican legislature has objected to some results.

Image rightsReutersImage descriptionThe police have taken a stand in the Capitol

For days, Mr Trump has also been putting pressure on Mr Pence, who chaired the meeting, to block certification of the outcome. “Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!” The president tweeted on Wednesday.

However, in a letter to Congress, Mr Pence said he had no “unilateral power to decide which votes to count”.

Republican Senate Chairman Mitch McConnell also broke off the chamber floor with Mr. Trump in an emotional speech.

The Kentucky Senator warned that if Congress turned election results upside down, “our democracy would enter a death spiral”.

What’s the reaction?

Political figures around the world expressed their shock. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned “shameful scenes” and called for a “peaceful and orderly transfer of power”.

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said: “Trump and his supporters must finally accept the decision of the American voters and stop trampling democracy.”

And former US President George W. Bush said in a statement: “It’s a disgusting and heartbreaking sight. This is how the election results are contested in a banana republic – not in our democratic republic.”

Former President Barack Obama said in a statement that history would rightly remember the attack on the Capitol as “a moment of great shame and shame on our nation.”

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