‘Stop the Steal’ Rioters Storm Capitol Building, Four Dead
Photo via Now This Twitter
Thousands of pro-Trump protesters from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 to protest against the certification of the Electoral College votes for projected President-elect Joe Biden. The protest was a continuation of the Stop the Steal Movement led by Ali Alexander.
President Trump addressed the sea of supporters around noon at Ellipse Park and vowed that “we will never concede” shortly before Congress’s joint session to certify the election results. The crowd chanted “we love you,” and “four more years” as Trump spoke.
“So when you hear, ‘while there is no evidence to prove any wrongdoing,’ this is the most fraudulent election––this is a criminal enterprise … there’s never been anything like it,” Trump said.
Trump also called on Vice President Mike Pence to “do the right thing” and reject the Electoral College votes. Shortly after Trump’s address, Pence released a statement via Twitter.
“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral college votes should be counted and which should not,” the statement read.
As Pence addressed in his statement, he does not have the “unilateral authority to decide presidential contests” nor has history seen such authority asserted by one in his position. Congress instead has the power.
Pence acknowledged “voting irregularities” within the 2020 election, and encouraged both the Senate and House members to raise their objections with the presented evidence.
“Given the voting irregularities that took place in our November elections and the disregard of state election statutes by some officials, I welcome the efforts of Senate and House members who have stepped forward to use their authority under the law to raise objections and present evidence,” the statement read.
Pro-Trump rioters descend on the Capitol
While the protest remained peaceful in the morning, disorder quickly ensued in the afternoon. Following Trump’s speech, protesters made their way from Ellipse Park and stormed the Capitol building at approximately 2:45 p.m. Inside, a number of Republican lawmakers were making their case against Biden’s win in Arizona.
The Capitol was evacuated as protesters forced their way inside the building, ripping away metal barricades on the steps of the Capitol, pushing through a line of D.C. police and breaking the building’s windows.
The Capitol went on lockdown as Congress continued to count the Electoral College votes at another location.
Pepper spray and tear gas was deployed on the herd of demonstrators as the crowd continued to move past the line of D.C. officers.
Over 50 people were arrested, 14 police officers were injured and one San Diego resident and 14-year U.S. veteran, Ashli Babbitt, died after suffering a gunshot wound. Babbitt was shot in the neck by a Capitol police officer, according to Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Robert Contee.
Three others died due to “medical emergencies.”
As protests continued, Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a 6 p.m. curfew and issued a 15-day public safety emergency during a press conference, which allows her to declare a curfew at any time. The MPD reported a number of weapons and a cooler filled with molotov cocktail bombs were found near the Capitol, as well as two pipe bombs at the RNC headquarters.
“Everyone needs to clear the Capitol ground and remove themselves back to their homes states, or wherever they’re staying, and let the police do their jobs,” Bowser said during the press conference.
Multiple police departments in the region and 1,100 National Guard personnel helped local police re-assert control around the Capitol as the curfew went into effect.
Later in the evening, Trump posted a video on Twitter calling for his followers to remain peaceful and go home, which the platform later removed.
“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!” the President tweeted.
As protesters scaled the scaffolding outside of the Capitol building and waved Trump flags, mainstream media press reporters were also targeted on the ground as rioters destroyed camera equipment and assaulted journalists.
Social media sites suspend Trump
Twitter suspended Trump off the platform for 12 hours, while Facebook and Instagram suspended him for 24 hours, citing “repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity Policy.”
“Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the
@realDonaldTrump account,” the official Twitter Safety account tweeted.
Twitter removed a number of Trump’s tweets and flagged others with: “This claim about election fraud is disputed”.
Antifa infiltration rumors
Many people online and on the House floor claimed Antifa infiltrated the pro-Trump protest and led the charge to the Capitol after a retired military official told The Washington Times that XRVision, a facial recognition company, matched rioters to photographed Antifa members.
The Washington Times reported the source sent them the photo match but did not include it in its initial report.
However, journalist Andy Ngo––who has become a staunch expert and critic of Antifa and their tactics over the last few years––dismissed the claims.
“The people occupying the Capitol building do not look like Antifa people dressed in Trump gear or Trump costumes,” Ngo said.
“I have seen no evidence that they are able to coordinate a mass infiltration on this scale before, so I’m really skeptical that they would have been able to do it here without any of that information leaking out,” he added.
BlazeTV journalist Elijah Schaffer also dismissed the rumors in a tweet.
Trump staffers resign
After Wednesday’s incidents, a slew of White House officials resigned from their positions, including Social Secretary Rickie Niceta, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger and First Lady Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham.
Protests break out in other cities
Other pro-Trump protests popped up in other cities. In Los Angeles, a group of Trump supporters clashed with counter-protesters at the Los Angeles City Hall. It was declared an unlawful assembly and the crowd was ordered to disperse.
In Olympia, Washington, Trump supporters broke through the gates of the governor’s mansion.
UPDATE: The House continued to count Electoral College votes and hear objections raised by Republican lawmakers — 3:17 A.M. EST.
UPDATE: Vice President Mike Pence certified the Electoral College votes. Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th President of the U.S. on Jan. 20. — 3:51 A.M. EST