Trump supporters storm Capitol, lawmakers flee

Chaos in Washington Wednesday as scores of supporters of President Trump stormed Capitol Hill in an attempt to force lawmakers to overturn his defeat in November's elections.

Police fired tear gas and ordered several government buildings to be closed as protesters marched through the halls of Congress.

The chaotic scenes came after President Donald Trump addressed thousands of supporters near the White House, repeating his baseless claims that the election was stolen from him due to widespread fraud. Election officials of both parties and independent observers have said there was no significant fraud in the Nov. 3 contest, which Biden won by more than 7 million votes in the national popular vote.

The unprecedented security breach forced both the House and the Senate to stop proceedings, temporarily suspending a last-ditch effort by pro-Trump Republicans to throw out the election loss.

Vice President Mike Pence, who was there to preside over the joint session of Congress, was escorted out of the chamber by Capitol Police as a safety precaution.

Members of the House were urged to take out gas masks secured under their seats and be prepared to put them on as officers stood at the doors with guns drawn to prevent any protesters from entering.

Body-armor-clad members of militia and far-right groups filled the streets outside of the Capitol building, with some chanting pro-Trump slogans and clashing with the police.

A citywide curfew has been declared by the mayor of Washington, D.C. to begin at 6pm.