Riots in the Capitol to prevent congressional meeting

Bree Soule, Online Editor-in-Chief

Updated January 22, 2021

On Jan. 6, supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol Hill Building in protest of the electoral votes being counted during a congressional meeting, officially deeming Joe Biden as the next U.S President. 

The protestors gathered around the Capitol Building shortly after 1 p.m., climbing it and breaking through windows— which eventually provided them entrance to the inside.  According to CNN politics, “About 90 minutes later, police said demonstrators got into the building and the doors to the House and Senate were being locked. Shortly after, the House floor was evacuated by police. Vice President Mike Pence was also evacuated from the chamber, where he was to perform his role in the counting of electoral votes.”

As news of the protestors got out, Trump sent out a few Tweets saying, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful.” As well as, “I am asking everyone at the U.S Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence. Remember, we are the Party of Law and Order— respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you.”

The Tweets were virtually ineffective as the protest continued. The law enforcement began using teargas to keep protestors back.

Not far into the protests, President Elect Joe Biden broadcasted his feelings on the issue. He stated, “At this hour, our democracy is under an unprecedented assault. Unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times. An assault on the citadel of liberty. The Capitol itself. An assault on the people’s representatives, the Capitol Hill Police, sworn to protect them, and the public servants who work for the heart of our republic… Let me be very clear, the scenes of chaos in the Capitol do not reflect a true America. Do not represent who we are. What we’re seeing are a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not descent, it’s disorder. It’s chaos, orders on sedition— and it must end.”  Later in the broadcast, Biden also calls out to Trump, telling him to “step up.”

Following Biden’s address to the nation, Trump released a video which he posted on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, calling for peace and an end to the protest.

He stated in the video, “I know your pain, I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it— especially the other side. But, you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order… So go home, we love you, you’re very special, you’ve seen what happens, you see the way others are treated so bad and so evil. I know how you feel, but go home and go home in peace.”

Trump has since been locked out of his Facebook account and permanently suspended from his Twitter account for “policy violations,” as well as his video addressing the protestors was taken down previously by Twitter officials.

Although Trump asked protestors to remain peaceful and go home, the protest continued on and got more violent as time passed. Immediately, Trump employed the National Guard and Federal Law Enforcement to “secure the building and expel the intruders.”

According to NBC2, “The House floor was evacuated after an armed standoff at the House front door. Police officers drew their guns at someone trying to get inside chamber floors.”

It took until roughly 5:40 p.m. to secure the Capitol building once again and at least 52 people were arrested before 9:30 p.m. that day in Washington, as reported by CNN.

Five had been pronounced dead after the protest— three for unrelated medical conditions. The other two deaths included a woman who was shot in the chest after attempting to enter the House chamber through a barricaded door, and Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher by rioters. 

Numerous rioters have been arrested and some may face federal charges, however, most charges deal with disorderly conduct, unlawfully entering a restricted building, violent entry and other misdemeanors. Some, including Adam Johnson who was accused of stealing Nancy Pelosi’s lectern, have been charged for theft. Johnson faces felony charges. This lectern was stolen and listed on Ebay— which received 167 offers that culminated in a winning bid of $99,900. The lectern has since been returned to the U.S Capitol.

Before his media accounts were locked, Trump uploaded another video, saying he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem.”

“America is, and must always be, a nation of law and order,” Trump said. “The demonstrators who infiltrated the capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.”

These videos have been posted on YouTube by multiple media outlets as well as Biden’s video can be found on his Twitter account, @JoeBiden.

At the end of the day, the protest did delay the congressional meeting, however, it was back in session later that night as Biden was officially declared the winner of the Electoral College vote majority. On Jan. 20, Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States.