For a nation that often lectures others about rule of law and democratic rights, it was a sight that many Americans could have done without. After all, the United States of America is not a tin pot, banana republic. But when hordes of Trump supporters pushed their way through to the Capitol and blocked lawmakers, who had to be evacuated. It took some time for the police officers and later National Guard to bring a semblance of law and order into the centre of power in what is touted as the powerful nation on earth.
The city has been placed under a state of public emergency by Mayor Muriel Bowser, that will last until January 21. Trump supporters entered the Capitol building and engaged with riot police on Wednesday afternoon as Congress held a joint session to count the 2020 Electoral College votes.
Police said that four people were killed and more than 50 people were arrested. Washington DC Police Chief Robert Contee said the dead on Wednesday included a woman who was shot by the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as three others who died in “medical emergencies”. The woman was shot earlier on Wednesday as the mob tried to break through a barricaded door in the Capitol where police were armed on the other side. She was hospitalised with a gunshot wound and later died.
Both chambers of Congress recessed debate after the mob forced a lockdown at the Capitol and the evacuation of lawmakers and VP Mike Pence, and halting Senate proceedings even as Congress voted to certify Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden
DC police officials also say two pipe bombs were recovered, one outside the Democratic National Committee and one outside the Republican National Committee. Police found a cooler from a vehicle that had a long gun and Molotov cocktail on Capitol grounds.
Police said both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hours-long occupation of the Capitol building before it was cleared on Wednesday evening by law enforcement.
President Trump recorded a message calling for peace and told protesters to go home, but it was too little and too late. The violence at the Capitol also led to a spate of resignations from the White House, indicating that President Trump was now isolated in his brazen attempt to cling on to the office.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is sending 1,000 members of the state’s National Guard to Washington, DC, to help the peaceful transition of presidential power. The troops would be sent for up to two weeks at the request of U.S. National Guard officials. It comes after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters rampaged through the U.S. Capitol.
President Trump also found himself banned from Facebook and Instagram. Twitter which has been disputing many of his tweets said that it was looking to ban him for misusing the platform. Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to fight Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over him, citing false claims of voter fraud. That predictably ended in a huge mess, reminiscent something of what happens in countries where the US usually changed the governments. As one tweet went around, the US has found that it is easier to install a President in other countries than in the United States.