In the US Capitol complex, America’s version of the Houses of Parliament, an ‘armed standoff’ is currently underway after supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the building.
There are unverified rumors that during the violent invasion that started when hundreds of demonstrators marched to the Capitol for a demonstration, a woman was shot in the chest.
Two sources have said the victim is in a serious condition, but CNN notes that there are no further information available.
Photos circulated on social media tend to show a woman being taken out of the building with a significant injury to her leg.
Outside the headquarters of the Republican National Committee, a bomb was found and there are also rumors that many officers were injured when riot police descended on the building.
The scenes were criticized by President-elect Joe Biden, saying that democracy is “under an unprecedented assault…unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times”
He said, “An assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself,”
“An assault on the people’s representatives and the Capitol Hill police, sworn to protect them. And the public servants who work at the heart of our Republic… Let me be very clear. The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America.”
A surreal video addressing the rioters was filmed by President Trump himself in which he says “we love you, you’re very special” and repeats his false assertion that he won a “landslide” election last November.
An armed stand-off at the door to the US House Chamber inside the Capitol was identified by reporters on the scene, with guns drawn.
As heavily armed demonstrators barged their way in, lawmakers who were assembled inside the Senate to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory were forced to flee.
Footage and photographs posted to social media show demonstrators roaming inside the evacuated chamber of the Senate, while others took pictures of themselves inside major politicians’ offices, including Nancy Pelosi.
Since then, CNN says, the Senate floor has been cleared of rioters and police have regained control of the city.
The National Guard and other “federal protective services” have been ordered by President Trump to help respond to the rioters.
All buildings inside the Capitol Complex have now been put into an emergency lockdown, and a 6pm curfew has been imposed on the town by the mayor of Washington DC.
Two buildings on the Hill, including the Madison Library of Congress Building and the Cannon House Office Building, have been evacuated by the United States Capitol Police.
In the meantime, at a rally today, President Trump, who urged his supporters to march on the Capitol, tweeted asking the demonstrators to stay peaceful.
“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful,” he said.
“No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
Despite appeals from other Republicans to condemn the violence, he has declined to issue any stronger declaration.
The “shameful scenes” have been condemned by Boris Johnson, saying: “The United States stands for democracy and freedom and it is now vital that there must be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”
At the March to Save America protest, hundreds of people wearing Trump’s iconic MAGA merchandise and military gear turned up, according to eyewitnesses at the scene.
Many of them were allegedly part of the far-right Proud Boys movement, which has a history of violent incidents.
Trump has been fanning the fury of his supporters for weeks by arguing that, despite no evidence to support this argument, the 2020 election was stolen from him.