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Rioters Invade Capitol Hill

Co-written by Colin O’Malley 

UPDATE (1/7): This article has been adjusted to signify that four people were killed in the riot on January 6th and that the woman shot and killed was from San Diego

Early Wednesday afternoon, millions of Americans were stunned as a rally for President Donald Trump escalated into a violent mob that converged upon Capitol Hill during a joint congressional conference. 

U.S. Capitol building during the riot | Photo courtesy of Politico

After listening to President Trump speak, his supporters forcibly crossed metal barricades and breached the Capitol building, overrunning Capitol police. They broke through windows and doors, rifled through congressional offices, and stole from chambers as they stormed the building. 

At the last minute, Congress members were evacuated to confidential areas within the Capitol. As of now, officials find it difficult to pinpoint how rioters were capable of breaking in with alarming ease. 

People sheltering within the Capitol| Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

“I am in the House Chambers. We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks,” Democrat and Michigan Representative  Dan Kildee tweeted at 11:52 AM. “Chamber security and Capitol Police have their guns drawn as protesters bang on the front door of the chamber.”

Police responded with tear gas, flashbangs, pepper spray, and percussion grenades, but the rioters reacted with their own chemical irritants. Although the Department of Defense initially denied D.C.’s  request for the National Guard, enforcement agencies including the Guard arrived later to help suppress the riot. Observers of the incident, however, developed concerns in regards to the lack of defensive preparation on behalf of the Capitol police. According to Forbes, further distress took place as Capitol police allegedly took selfies with the rioters.

Biden addresses the riots | Photo courtesy of People

President-Elect Joe Biden delivered a live speech in the afternoon, responding to the issue. Calling the effort an ‘insurrection,’ he demanded Trump to ‘step up’ and condemn the aggressors wholeheartedly.

Following the President-Elect, Trump then released a video in which he addressed the rioters as ‘very special’ but affirmed they ‘needed to go home now.’ Wrapped within the prerecorded video were more unsubstantiated and false claims of Trump’s supposed ‘victory’ in the 2020 election. 

After the video was released on Twitter, it was immediately flagged for perpetuating falsehoods concerning the 2020 election. Shortly thereafter, Twitter released a statement calling for the removal of three tweets from the President’s account and consequently causing Trump to receive a 12 hour suspension from the platform.

The company stated, “Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”

As the riot unfolded on the ground, several events followed: one female rioter died from a bullet wound to the neck, three others died from medical emergencies, multiple others were injured, and officials located at least two home-made explosives outside of the Capitol building. The woman who was shot and killed was from San Diego. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser implemented a 6pm curfew as Washington Police Chief Robert Contee shared that the congregation had  officially been categorized as a riot. 

Rioters inside the Capitol building | Photo courtesy of NBC

The rioters’ motives were derived from the Electoral College certification of President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory. Following numerous Republicans’ denials of election results and Trump’s refusal to concede, the rioters intended to defend the President from a ‘stolen election.’ 

On Wednesday, lawmakers were expected to finish counting the election’s electoral votes; however, the mob’s invasion delayed them from doing so. Nonetheless, they were able to reconvene a few hours after the riots receded.

“The United States and the Senate will not be intimidated. We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution for our nation,” current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated in a tweet. 

After the curfew had passed, crowds began to move outside of the Capitol and law enforcement was able to completely force the mob away. Following a full sweep and removal of any suspicious packages, they secured the Capitol building itself. As of now, at least 13 people were arrested. Contrary to the intent of D.C.’s mob, the conference is continuing and expected to finish tonight. The Senate has now voted to affirm Joe Biden’s victory in the state of Arizona, which was objected to earlier in the day before the riots. The affirmation came 93-6 with six dissenting Republicans – about half of the number of Republicans who initially claimed that they would object. As tonight’s events develop further, The MC Sun will continue to update this page.

About Prisha Puntambekar

Sophomore Prisha Puntambekar has enjoyed writing from a young age. Outside of journalism, she's the Vice President of Sundevils for Senior Citizens Club, the Co-President of Mental Wellness Club, and a harsh critic of Twinkies.

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