Mayhem unfolded at the US Capitol on Wednesday as rioters incited by President Donald Trump smashed their way into the building, ransacked its offices and mocked its leaders.
Lawmakers set to confirm US President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory hid under tables, donned gas masks and hunkered in lockdowns as the mob of hundreds pounded at the doors and forced their way inside to roam the building’s halls.
Security officers trained their guns on the intruders from inside the House Chamber. A woman was shot and killed by police, and three others died in apparent medical emergencies. The graceful Rotunda reeked of tear gas.
An American flag was removed from the Capitol’s facade and replaced with a banner for Trump. At least one rioter carried a Confederate flag through the hallowed halls of US Democracy for the first time in the country’s history.
Trump equivocated on the sidelines, telling the insurrectionists “We love you” as he asked them to leave, after lighting fire to the mob at an earlier rally.
The US Capitol police force was accused of a stunning failure of its duty, especially as photos and videos emerged of officers allowing rioters past their line and posing for selfies with the intruders.
Much of the carnage played out in real-time online as rioters, bystanders, journalists and lawmakers posted photos, videos and written testimony on social networks amid the chaos.
The footage of MAGA-hatted intruders marauding through the building was viewed online in the US and abroad with astonishment, fear, anger, and in some corners of internet, delight.
Biden branded the rioters “domestic terrorists” and said the tumult was “not dissent, was not disorder, was not protest. It was chaos.”
“Don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob — insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic,” Biden said, placing blame squarely on Trump.
“He unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy from the outset. And yesterday was the culmination of that unrelenting attack,” Biden said.
WHOA—The US Capitol siege today started at this exact moment — when the Capitol police were completely caught off guard when rioters stormed the fence and overran them. Where was the backup? Why wasn’t the National Guard pre-stationed there? So angry. ???? pic.twitter.com/rQ2UT4BZTj
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 7, 2021
Just evacuated my office in Cannon due to a nearby threat. Now we’re seeing protesters assaulting Capitol Police.
This is wrong. This is not who we are. I’m heartbroken for our nation today. pic.twitter.com/jC9P0YfSLQ
— Rep. Nancy Mace (@RepNancyMace) January 6, 2021
It’s a dark day in America when a UNITED STATES Capitol police officer decides to take a selfie with a TERRORIST! And they wonder why WE don’t feel safe! pic.twitter.com/UZsLnS2s68
— NAACP (@NAACP) January 6, 2021
???????? NEW VIDEO OF #AshliBabbitt SHOOTING SHOWS STRAIGHT UP UNNECESSARY MURDER BY DC POLICE.
Download and Archive Everyone!pic.twitter.com/BzCsJiw4wo
— President-Elect Alexander Higgins (@kr3at) January 7, 2021
I am safe. We are sheltering in place. Make no mistake: President Trump and his enablers are directly responsible for this violence.
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) January 6, 2021
— ITV News (@itvnews) January 6, 2021
Trump rioters drive CNN Media members out, and destroy all of CNN’s equipment at Capitol. Tens of thousands of dollars at least ???? pic.twitter.com/KuYcJndZFK
— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) January 6, 2021
הטרלול שעבר גיל תמרי בשידור ישיר מוושינגטון, וההתמודדות המכובדת שלו: pic.twitter.com/kJpcHk1erY
— Ran Boker רן בוקר (@ranboker) January 6, 2021
— Tal Schneider טל שניידר تال شنايدر (@talschneider) January 6, 2021