Police Clear Rioters From Capitol As Certification Set to Resume

Gene Maddaus
·3-min read

Police cleared the Capitol on Wednesday after rioters stormed the building, smashing windows and breaching barricades in protest of the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

The House sergeant at arms reported that the building had been cleared shortly before 6 p.m., when a curfew was set to take effect across the nation’s capital. Speaker Nancy Pelosi told colleagues that leadership planned to resume the certification process once the building was secure.

More from Variety

Several outlets reported that the process would resume around 8 p.m. The Senate was hearing objections to the counting of votes from Arizona when the proceedings were suspended early in the afternoon.

Police had made 13 arrests as of late afternoon, according to Chief Robert Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department. Officers also seized five handguns and long guns, he said.

One civilian was shot inside the building. The police later said that the woman had died, according to several local outlets.

The Metropolitan Police Department took the lead on clearing the Capitol building alongside the U.S. Capitol Police. The D.C. National Guard was also deployed, along with National Guard units from Virginia and Maryland. State police units from both neighboring states were also sent to the scene.

“The behavior that we are witnessing is shameful, unpatriotic and above all it is unlawful,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference. “Anyone who has engaged in these activities, continues to engage in these activities, will be held accountable. There will be law and order and this behavior will not be tolerated.”

There were also injuries to police officers, though the officers remained in the field.

Contee said a riot was declared after the demonstrators began to clash with Capitol police officers. He said some of the protesters used chemical irritants against the police as they pushed through lines around the Capitol building.

The demonstrators had attended President Trump’s speech at the “Save America” rally, in which he called for supporters to walk to the Capitol and urge wavering Republican senators to be strong and “take back our country.”

“So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said.

After that, the demonstrators marched east toward the Capitol building.

Congress was meeting in joint session to certify the results of the Electoral College vote. Lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence were evacuated as the rioters breached the building.

Trump posted a video on Wednesday afternoon saying that his supporters “have to go home now.”

“Go home, we love you, you’re very special,” Trump said.

Later, he sent a tweet justifying the violence as the result of having his “sacred landslide victory” taken away. Twitter disabled replies, retweets and likes on the tweet “due to a risk of violence.”

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” he said. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

Launch Gallery: Trump Rioters Storm U.S. Capitol (Photos)

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.